Pacific Northwest Region - USDA Forest Service
Transportation Systems Operations and Maintenance
Forest Service (USFS) roads are constructed and maintained for the use, development, and protection of public lands and resources administered by the USFS. USFS roads are subject to rules and regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture, and, although public use is generally allowed, roads may be closed or use restricted to fulfill resource management objectives. Therefore, USFS roads are not the same as “public roads” as referred to under 23 U.S.C. 101(a).
Commercial use of USFS roads is prohibited in the Pacific Northwest Region without an authorization. This prohibition is enacted under individual forest order pursuant to 36 CFR 261.54. Authorization can take the form of a Contract, Road Use Permit, Easement, Cooperative Agreement, or letter of authorization. Also, each National Forest has issued a set of Commercial Road Rules which are incorporated into these authorizations. The rules list operational constraints on the road system including those pavements and structures that have restrictions because of weight or size limitations.
A commercial operator that needs to use USFS roads must contact the local National Forest and request a permit to haul over USFS roads. Typically a road use permit (R6-FS-7700-41) is issued. The applicant should apply for the permit using R6-FS-7700-40 (see below). The application will be reviewed for loads in excess of state law as state traffic laws apply to USFS Roads unless greater or lesser limits have been established by individual order (36 CFR 212.5).
Agreements involving the temporary transfer of road jurisdiction from the USFS to another governmental entity may be permitted to provide for public use, including commercial use, where USFS roads are required as part of a detour route during construction or maintenance of a public highway system.