The number of off-highway vehicle (OHV) users in the U.S. has climbed tenfold in the past 32 years, from approximately 5 million in 1972 to 51 million in 2004. The Forest Service now manages more than 300,000 miles of road and 35,000 miles of trail for motor vehicle use. More than 11 million people using OHVs visited national forest and grasslands in 2004. While most people ride responsibly, a few riders leave lasting impacts by traveling off roads and trails and creating unauthorized routes. Unmanaged OHV use affects wetlands and wildlife habitat, erodes soils, damages cultural resources and spreads invasive species.
State and county governments manage public roads, provide access to National Forest System lands and represent private landowners within and adjacent to National Forest System lands. Off-highway vehicle riders and non-motorized recreation visitors share an interest in enjoying outdoor recreation in a natural environment. We are working collaboratively with federal, state, county, and tribal agencies, motorized and non-motorized recreation user groups, conservationists and others to provide access to National Forest System lands on routes and in areas that are environmentally and socially sustainable. Many roads and trails are maintained and improved through cooperative relationships.
Motorized recreation is an appropriate use of national forests and grasslands. A managed system of roads, trails, and areas designated for motor vehicle use will better protect natural and cultural resources, address use conflicts, and secure sustainable opportunities for public enjoyment of national forests and grasslands.
Roles and Responsibilities
Travel Management Rule sets nationwide, consistent guidelines for the process.
Regional forester provides regionwide guidelines for the forests.
Forest supervisor provides forestwide consistency in process.
District ranger develops proposal for a designated system of roads, trails and areas.