Where can I get a MVUM?
Maps are posted and available for printing on this website and on the internet at both the Rocky Mountain Region and National Forest Service websites. Paper copies of the Black Hills NF maps are available free of charge at each of the BKNF Forest Service offices in Custer (Forest Supervisor’s Office), Rapid City and Spearfish in South Dakota and in Sundance, Wyoming. Free paper copies of the Black Hills NF maps are available at these Forest Service offices as of October 25, 2010. See other partners and distribution locations that disseminate maps.


How many MVUM's are there for the Black Hills national Forest?
There are two, two-sided maps, for a total of four (4) maps. One side of each map has tables further defining routes, seasonality, and activities. The maps are:

Northern Black Hills

  • Northern Hills Front (Bearlodge RD)
  • Northern Hills Back (Northern Hills RD)

Southern Black Hills

  • Southern Hills Front (Hell Canyon RD)
  • Southern Hills Back  (Mystic RD)


How do I print the MVUM?
Full-size prints of the Black Hills National Forest MVUM’s are 34" x 44". Therefore, full-size versions of the MVUM’s cannot be printed on conventional home printers. A full-size version can only be printed from a large plotter. Many local engineering and survey businesses can print the map for a nominal fee.

To be readable, only a portion of the MVUM can be printed on 8 ½" x 11" paper using home printers. With Adobe Acrobat, use the “Print Current View” function to print the view on your screen. It is recommended that the legend box, as well as applicable special designations, be printed to aid in interpretation of the MVUM.

What does the MVUM show me?

The MVUM shows the designated motorized roads, trails, and areas where the public can drive motozized vehicles. Morotized uses for special permits for things like firewood and cattle grazing are covered under the conditions of the permit. The MVUM is the legal document directing motorized traffic in the Black Hills National Forest. Signing on the ground is provided but is not required. The public has the responsibility to know where they are and whether their use is allowed. Top


Does the MVUM also show mechanized and non-motorized trails and over-snow vehicle uses?
No, a visitor use map or recreation opportunity map will provide information on motorized routes as well as non-motorized routes, including mechanized trails, hiking, and horse trails. Over-snow vehicle use is exempted from designations on the MVUM. These maps are available for purchase at FS offices.


What do you mean by vehicle class?
By vehicle class we are referring to certain categories of motorized vehicles. The following are typical vehicle class route designations:

  • Roads open to highway legal vehicles only
  • Roads open to all vehicles (licensed and unlicensed)
  • Trails open to vehicles 50 inches or less in width (ATV, motorcycle, etc.)
  • Trails open to all vehicles (trails may be rugged and narrow- intended for jeeps)
  • Trails open to motorcycles only (single track)
  • Special Designation (Trails open to vehicles 62 inches or less in width (UTV, ATV, motorcycle, etc.)

Some routes and areas shown open to certain vehicle classes do not mean they are maintained for or suitable for travel using those vehicles. It simply means it is legal to use them. For example, many low standard roads may be open to all motor vehicles. This designation includes passenger cars, although it may not be prudent to drive this type of vehicle on the route due to the condition of the surface or during inclement weather. Please check with the local Ranger District Offices for more information.


Will there be any areas where I can travel cross-country with my vehicle?
Two areas, less than 5 acres each, are designated open for cross-country travel for the specific purpose of providing opportunities for beginners to practice operating OHV’s. Other cross-country, motorized travel is authorized for the purposes of game retrieval, Elk only, and dispersed camping.


What is a highway legal vehicle and how do I go about making my vehicle highway legal?
A highway-legal vehicle is any motor vehicle that is licensed or certified under state law for general operation on all public roads in the state. Operators of highway-legal vehicles are subject to state traffic law, including requirements for operator licensing. To determine if your vehicle is highway legal, or how to make your vehicle highway legal, contact your state police or state DMV.

What are road maintenance levels and how do those affect open vs. closed roads?
Forest Service roads are divided into 5 maintenance levels. These are:

  • Level 1 – Closed to vehicular traffic but may be available and suitable for non-motorized uses.
  • Level 2 – Open to high clearance vehicles.
  • Level 3 – Assigned to roads open and maintained for travel by a prudent driver in a standard passenger car. User comfort and convenience are not considered priorities. Roads in this maintenance level are typically low speed with single lanes and turnouts.
  • Level 4 – Assigned to roads that provide a moderate degree of user comfort and convenience at moderate travel speeds. Most roads are double lane and aggregate surfaced. However, some roads may be single lane. Some roads may be paved and/or dust abated.
  • Level 5 – Assigned to roads that provide a high degree of user comfort and convenience. These roads are normally double lane, paved facilities.


What do you mean by a season allowance?
Some routes or areas may be open only during certain times of the year for various reasons such as to reduce wildlife disturbance, protect users from unsafe or impassable conditions and to reduce impacts to other resource values.  Specific dates can be found on the MVUM.

How far can I park off a designated route?
You may park a motor vehicle on the side of the road when it is safe to do so without causing damage to NFS resources or facilities, unless prohibited by state law, a traffic sign, or an order. Parking is allowed within a specified distance of up to 30 feet from the edge of the road surface.

How does this impact big game retrieval?
Motorized big game retrieval, Elk only, will be allowed on approximately 294,800 acres as shown on the MVUM. Elk only retrieval with a motor vehicle is allowed only where the Elk Retrieval or Elk Retrieval Zone symbols are displayed on the MVUM. The MVUM will indicate the distance up to 300 feet, or up to 1 mile within the designated Elk Retrieval Zones, from certain designated roads where motor vehicles may be driven for the purpose of Elk only retrieval.

For Elk retrieval, there is be no restriction on time of day. Only one vehicle will be allowed off-road to retrieve each harvested animal, but more than one pass of this single vehicle will be allowed as needed. Persons retrieving an Elk will be required to use the most direct route to and from the nearest designated road, possess a valid hunting license, and keep weapons cased during game retrieval.

Can I camp on the side of the road with my RV, 5th wheel or pop-up camper?
You may camp with a motor vehicle only where the dispersed camping symbol is displayed on the MVUM. The MVUM indicates the distance, up to 300 feet from certain designated roads, that motor vehicles may be driven for the purpose of dispersed camping. Dispersed camping with a motor vehicle is allowed on approximately 135,500 acres. Dispersed camping is not permitted in or near developed recreation sites, or adjacent lands of other ownership such as the Mickelson Trail right-of-way. Resource damage is not allowed as a result of dispersed camping.

Are there road and trail route marker signs on the ground?
Routes designated for motorized use may not always be signed. In some cases, a route marker may exist at the entrance of the road/trail with symbols indicating which classes of vehicles are allowed. Routes designated for motorized uses will be identified on the MVUM. The MVUM is an enforcement tool to ensure individuals are on the correct route. It is the responsibility of the user to determine if they are on a route designated for the motor vehicle being used. MVUM's will be developed for each forest nationwide. It is not only a tool for motorized users, but also a consistent and standardized law enforcement tool.

When did the MVUM become enforceable?
December 1, 2010 Top

After MVUMs are available to the public in map form and on the web, what will be the Forest Service enforcement strategy?
Forest employees, including law enforcement employees and Forest Protection Officers, will continually check with the public to assure compliance. The public is asked to follow the principle that if they see something wrong, say something by contacting your local Forest Service office. We are working with local and State governments to coordinate enforcement.

What is the fine for violations?
Violations of 36 CFR 261.13 are subject of a fine up to $5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment (18 U.S.C. 3571(e)).

Other Frequently Asked MVUM Questions