Off Road Vehicle Program
The Bighorn Mountains offer spectacular scenery and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreations on ORVs.With those opportunities come the responsibility to care for the land. By far, the majority of Forest users do have a good land use ethic. However, it only takes a few irresponsible people to degrade and destroy the natural heritage the mountains offer.
Over the last decade, Wyoming has seen a significant increase in recreation use on public land. One of the most frequently violated regulations is motor vehicles being used off designated roads or on closed roads and trails. This misuse causes extensive resource damage and disturbance to wildlife as well as to other recreation users. Please be a conscientious ORV operator and stay on designated motorized routes. Click here for the Bighorn National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map
WYOMING STATE ORV PROGRAM
As of January 1, 2002, the WYOMING OFF-ROAD RECREATIONAL VEHICLES (ORV) STATE STATUTES went into effect that guide how the use of these vehicles, which include ATVs and motorcycles, is regulated within the State of Wyoming. The legislation has brought about some changes such as regulation exceptions that were not previously available and a source of funding to help develop, maintain and manage ORV trails and riding opportunities in our state. The new State regulations have generated some questions about how its implementation affects them as ORV users. The following provides information about what this legislation means to ORV users on the Bighorn National Forest.
The new State Legislation now allows public land managers to enroll roads into the Wyoming State ORV Program. Once a National Forest Road is officially enrolled in the Wyoming State ORV program, ORVs traveling on the designated road are no longer required by State Law to have a license plate and to be street legal in order to operate on them. They will be legal to travel the enrolled roads with the purchase of a Wyoming State permit sticker. The permit is valid for the entire calendar year.
WHAT ROADS ON THE BIGHORN NATIONAL FOREST ARE NOT ENROLLED IN THE STATE PROGRAM?
The majority of roads that are open to motorized use on the Bighorn National Forest have been enrolled in the Wyoming State ORV program. The roads that are NOT enrolled in the program are listed below. Users will still be required under the State Statute to have a valid driver’s license, maintain insurance, display proper license plates, and have a fully street legal vehicle in order to operate ORV’s on these non-enrolled Forest roads.
ROADS NOT ENROLLED ON THE BIGHORN NATIONAL FOREST:
* Highways 14, 14A and 16
TONGUE RANGER DISTRICT:
*All Forest roads are enrolled in the State ORV Program in this District.
POWDER RIVER RANGER DISTRICT:
* County Road 3 (Hazelton Road) in its entirety.
MEDICINE WHEEL RANGER DISTRICT:
*All Forest roads are enrolled in the State ORV Program in this District.
WHAT ARE THE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREST ROADS & TRAILS?
An ORV being operated on any Forest motorized TRAIL MUST HAVE AND DISPLAY the Wyoming State ORV permit. Wyoming State Law does not require ORVs operating on these TRAILS to have license plates or to be street legal. If your ORV has license plates, you are NOT required to purchase the Wyoming State ORV permit to travel on FOREST ROADS. The Wyoming State ORV permit OR valid license plates will suffice on all ROADS enrolled in the Wyoming State ORV Program. For roads that are not enrolled, there is not an option, State Law requires the ORV to display valid license plates, and to be street legal in order to travel on these roads. A list of non-enrolled roads is found later in this handout.
DO I NEED A PERMIT STICKER FOR MY FULL SIZED VEHICLE?
No. Full sized vehicles are not included in the Wyoming State ORV program. Therefore, they are not required to have the Wyoming State permit sticker to operate on the Forest roads. However, they must adhere to all Wyoming State Statutes governing public roadways. Full size vehicles are not allowed on Forest trail systems.
WHAT ARE THE WIDTH & WEIGHT LIMITS FOR ORVs ON TRAILS & ROADS?
ORVs must be 50 inches or LESS in width, and travel on at least 3 low pressure tires or tracks to ride on TRAILS. There are no longer any weight limits for ORVs riding on TRAILS. There are no width or weight restrictions for ORVs riding on enrolled ROADS.
WHAT IF MY ORV HAS TRACKS INSTEAD OF WHEELS?
State Statutes cover tracked ORVs under the blanket term “intended use”. This means that if you intend to use the ORV as a trail and road vehicle, the same regulations apply as if the vehicle has wheels. If you intend to use the ORV as if it were a snowmobile (OSV), then the regulations governing OSVs apply. In the simplest of terms, you will need both the ORV sticker and the snowmobile sticker to use the vehicle for both purposes.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO WHEN I PURCHASE A WYOMING STATE PERMIT STICKER?
The funds generated through this program will be used to operate the Wyoming State ORV program. This program will develop, maintain, and manage ORV trails and riding opportunities. The amount of funding generated in a locality will be directed back to these areas to benefit the local ORV program. Funds will also be used to print ORV maps, provide safety information, provide signing and eventually facilities such as restrooms and parking areas. ORV users will receive a direct benefit in the areas where they recreate.
WHY DOESN’T THE FOREST SERVICE ALLOW ORV’S TO RECREATE ON THEIR ROADWAYS WITHOUT HAVING TO HAVE PERMITS OR LICENSE PLATES?
All open Forest Service Roads on the Bighorn National Forest are considered to be “public roadways” and by law, fall under Wyoming State Statue governing the public roadways. The regulations requiring your ORV to be street legal and to have a valid license plate on all the public roadways or to have a Wyoming State permit sticker on enrolled Forest roads is a Wyoming State Law.
DOES MY ORV NEED A SPARK ARRESTOR?
Yes. All ORVs operating anywhere on National Forest Lands must have a spark arrestor on their ORV to help prevent wildfires.
DO I NEED A DRIVER’S LICENSE TO OPERATE MY ORV ON A FOREST SERVICE ROAD THAT IS ENROLLED IN THE WYOMING STATE ORV PROGRAM?
Yes. Wyoming law requires that an operator of ORVs traveling on public roadways have a valid driver’s license. Regardless of whether the Forest Road is enrolled in the Wyoming State ORV program or not enrolled, the operator must have a valid driver’s license in order to operate on a ROADWAY. In addition, the ORV must have brake lights, tail lights and head lamps if operated on a roadway one-half hour after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise. If the road is NOT ENROLLED in the Wyoming State ORV program, the operator must have a Motorcycle (M) endorsement on their driver’s license. An operator does not have to have a driver’s license to operate on motorized Forest TRAILS.
CAN I GO WHEREVER I WANT WITH MY ORV ONCE I GET THE PERMIT STICKER?
No. Bighorn National Forest travel management regulations are still in effect and require that all motorized users stay on designated and signed motorized routes. All routes open to motorized use will have a route number posted on it. If there is no number posted on the route, it is NOT open to motorized use (snowmobiles are exempt). All motorized users should have the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) with them to refer to. These maps are free to the public and provide you with a map of where you may operate your motorized vehicle. Motorized travel is allowed up to 300 feet off of a designated route for the purpose of camping, game retrieval, and firewood collecting providing no resource damage will occur by doing so. In addition, some of our motorized routes are closed and signed seasonally to protect elk calving areas and/or to minimize seasonal damage to the roads. Signing on the ground will take precedence over maps when an area is in question. Travel within campgrounds is allowed only for the purposes of entering, or leaving the campground. Penalties for traveling off designated routes or in closed areas could be up to $5,000 in fines and/or up to 6 months in jail. We encourage all Forest visitors and users to purchase a Forest Map and to contact their local Forest Office for information on motorized travel regulations. In many cases, ORV’s have created routes that are not legal, resulting in user conflicts and resource damage. Motorized users of the National Forest have the responsibility of knowing where they can and cannot travel. We need your help to provide for, and ensure a successful ORV recreation program. We encourage all Forest visitors to obtain a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) and to contact their local Forest Office for information on motorized travel regulations.
DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO GET MY ORV LICENSED AND STREET LEGAL, NOW, TO RECREATE ON THE FOREST?
Perhaps. It depends on where you tend to recreate and travel with your ORV. If your ORV use will be on trails or enrolled Forest roads, a Wyoming State permit sticker will meet the requirements. If you anticipate operating your ORV on pavement, non-enrolled county roads or any of the Forest roads listed, which are not enrolled in the Wyoming State ORV program, then the valid license plate and street legalization would be required. We recommend all ORV users carry related insurance and wear helmets.
WHAT IF I AM FROM OUT OF STATE?
Non-resident users on Forest Roads and Trails must abide by the same regulations as residents users. Out of state license plates are accepted by the State of Wyoming to travel Forest Roads but not on TRAILS. A non-resident must have a valid Wyoming State ORV permit to travel any motorized trail. If not plated, out of state ORVs must the Wyoming State ORV permit sticker to travel on enrolled FOREST ROADS.
PURCHASE THE ORV PERMIT STICKERS FROM SEVERAL LOCATIONS - listed on the State ORV map
Or contact the STATE TRAILS OFFICE AT (307) 777-6323 , Cheyenne
or visit http://wyotrails.state.wy.us
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bighorn National Forest Supervisors Office: (307) 674-2600, Sheridan
Tongue Ranger District: (307) 674-2600, Sheridan
Powder River Ranger District: (307) 684-7806, Buffalo
Medicine Wheel Ranger District: (307) 765-4435, Greybull
PLEASE TREAD LIGHTLY AND STAY ON DESIGNATED ROUTES!