Friday, June 26, 2009

National Forests To Begin Enforcing "Closed Unless Posted Open"

sample of forest road map
a sample of the new official road map in the Manistee National Forest
from the National Forest Service

As of January 2009 the National Forests' Travel Management Directive has become effective. This means:
  • The rule requires each national forest or ranger district to designate those roads, trails, and areas open to motor vehicles.
  • Designation will include class of vehicle and, if appropriate, time of year for motor vehicle use. A given route, for example, could be designated for use by motorcycles, ATVs, or street-legal vehicles.
  • Once designation is complete, the rule will prohibit motor vehicle use off the designated system or inconsistent with the designations.
  • Designation decisions will be made locally, with public input and in coordination with state, local, and tribal governments.
  • Designations will be shown on a motor vehicle use map. Use inconsistent with the designations will be prohibited.

For non-motorized forest users this is the long anticipated tightening of the "closed unless posted open" rule. Over the years many forests, including the Huron-Manistee in Michigan's lower peninsula, have become threaded with many, many tracks made by vehicles. However, most people are unaware that a great many of those are not legal roadways.

Les Russell, a Ranger on the Baldwin District, said that users should not see this as a closure. Over 99% of the forest is within 1/2 mile of a legal road.

A pdf version of the official road map is available on line, or may be obtained for free at a ranger station.

Although some tickets have been issued, 2009 will mostly be a year of educating the public, and full enforcement will begin in 2010.

See Huron-Manistee NF Maps
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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