Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 34° Clear

Outdoors blog

Clearwater Forest releases motorized vehicle use map

PUBLIC LANDS -- The Clearwater National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) has been released to guide where motor vehicles can be used on the forest.  

The published maps, which answer frequently asked questions about roads and trails open to motorized traffic, are available online and free at the forest headquarters in Orofino and at other offices.

In 2005 the U.S. Forest Service published a new rule requiring each national forest and grassland to designate those national forest system roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use.  It further required designated routes and areas to be identified on an MVUM that is available to the public free-of-charge.

On January 12, 2012, after nearly four years of public involvement and analysis, the Clearwater National Forest issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision that designated roads, trails and areas where motorized uses are allowed.

Read on for more details from the Forest Service.

Clearwater-Nez Perce Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell selected Alternative C-Modified—an alternative that responded to public comments by adding more motorized loops while strengthening wildlife habitat protection in key wildlife areas through seasonal restrictions.  The decision moves forest resources toward goals and objectives described in the Forest Plan.

Major provisions of the selected alternative include:

  • Motorized uses will be permitted only on designated routes, except for snow machines in winter.  This is a major change in the agency’s current approach to travel management.
  • Motorized uses (primarily over snow) and bicycle travel are eliminated in management area B2 (recommended wilderness) except for summer motorized travel on Fish Lake Trail 419.
  • Motorized uses are managed to minimize effects on wildlife and fisheries in management areas C1 (key big-game summer range), C6 (key fishery habitat) and C8S (big-game summer range/timber management).  This primarily affects backcountry motorcycle users.
  • Motorized uses are retained to the greatest extent possible in management areas where the uses are consistent with goals and objectives in the Forest Plan.

An MVUM displays National forest system roads, trails and areas designated for motorized use.  It also displays allowed uses by vehicle class (e.g. highway-legal vehicles, off-highway vehicles, and motorcycles), seasonal allowances and information about other travel rules and regulations.  It is the legal document that indicates where you can and cannot ride.

The MVUM becomes enforceable when the map has been posted to the World Wide Web and is available to the public in a hard copy format. 

If a route is not displayed on the MVUM, it is not designated for motor vehicle use (e.g. non-motorized trails, unauthorized roads and trails, temporary roads and trails) and is not open for motorized vehicle travel.

Motorized vehicle users have a responsibility to reference the MVUM in making travel decisions.  They cannot depend upon signs to determine the status of routes.

The MVUM will provide information by ranger district in a black and white map. It is a map for legal designations of where you can travel with various motorized vehicles, but for additional reference it is best used in conjunction with a Forest Visitor map or other detailed map.

Motor vehicle use maps will be re-published annually.   Any changes made as a result of Access and Travel Management plans during the year will be updated on the next MVUM.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

Follow Rich online:

Go to the full Outdoors page