Outdoors

Motorized Vehicle Use Maps out for Panhandle forests

PUBLIC LANDS — Motorized Vehicle Use Maps are available for the Bonners Ferry, Priest Lake and Sandpoint Ranger Districts. The maps can be found at Idaho Panhandle National Forests offices along with the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District’s map, which was introduced in 2010.

Free to the public, the maps display the roads and trails currently designated for motor vehicle use on the districts.

The MVUM for the forest’s northern districts is based on the current road and trail systems in place. The MVUM does not add or subtract from current legal routes, but is intended to provide a clear depiction of legal motorized vehicle routes available to the public.

Read on for more details and the importance of having this map aboard any motor vehicle heading onto the forests.

“The MVUM is the principal enforcement tool for motor vehicle use,” said Forest Supervisor Ranotta McNair. “Forest visitors must have the MVUM in order to understand when and where they can use their vehicle, be it a highway vehicle, OHV, ATV, motorcycle or off-road four wheel drive. Motorized travel will only be allowed on the designated roads and trails displayed on the MVUM.”

McNair said the forest will continue to use signs to provide information and inform visitors, but they have found that posting routes as open or closed to particular uses has not always been effective. “It will be the responsibility of forest users to get copies of the MVUM and to ensure they are traveling only on routes designated for their particular motor vehicle use.”

The new MVUM does not replace the 2004 Idaho Panhandle National Forests-Kaniksu National Forest Visitor Map or other maps intended to convey visitor information.  The visitor map or snowmobile map will provide information on over-snow and non-motorized routes, including mechanized trails, hiking, and horse trails.  

Over-snow vehicle use is exempted from designations on the MVUM.

Regardless of what other maps (including the Forest Visitor Map) may show as motorized routes, only those routes identified on the MVUMs are designated as open to public motorized use and legal for public motorized travel.  

The free MVUM does not display routes for campgrounds or other visitor facilities, while the visitor map does not display routes currently designated for motor vehicle use.

Forest Service law enforcement personnel and Forest Protection Officers will enforce the laws and regulations, McNair said.

“We are making a concerted effort to get the routes marked across the districts to help our forest visitors better navigate through the forest,” she said.

Info: Greg Hetzler (208) 265-6603.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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