The Forest Service in California is working through a Travel Management process implementing the national Travel Management Rule to provide a sustainable system of roads, trails and areas for public motor vehicle use on national forest lands.
The rapid expansion of off-highway vehicle (OHV) use on national forests is impacting the natural and cultural resources of federal lands and, in some cases, causing use conflicts. The Forest Service identified unmanaged recreation, especially impacts from OHVs, as one of the key threats facing the nation's forest.
OHV impacts have created unplanned roads and trails, erosion, watershed and habitat degradation, and impacted cultural resource sites.
Improved management of motor vehicle use on national forests will allow the Agency to enhance opportunities for public enjoyment of the national forests, including motorized and non-motorized recreation experiences.
California national forests are following the 2005 Travel Management Rule which has three parts:
Subpart A—Administration of the Forest Transportation System;
Subpart B—Designation of roads, trails and areas for motor vehicle use; and
Subpart C—Use by over-snow vehicles.
National forests in California have been working on Subpart B since 2003 with the motorized access, environmental and other non-motorized communities identifying existing routes and areas, and developing changes to motor vehicle use by the public of the existing National Forest Transportation System.
The majority of national forests in Region 5 have completed Environmental Impact Statement decisions related to Subpart B analyzing the prohibition of cross-country travel by motor vehicles, and if necessary, have made changes to their National Forest Transportation System.
National Forests in California are preparing to embark on Travel Analysis Subpart A, which is intended to identify opportunities for the national forest transportation system to meet current or future management objectives, based on ecological, social, cultural and economic concerns.
The Forest Service recognizes that Travel Management rules will change the way that some people access and experience their national forests. This change must happen in order to allow opportunities for public enjoyment and the protection of our natural, historical and cultural resources.