Off Highway Vehicles, Hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and off-highway vehicle recreationists all have certain things in common, such as a love of the outdoors and the use of some means of transportation to get where they are going.
Excessive complaints about Off Highway Vehicle recreation uses such as dust, noise, and speed can force OHV site closures. OHV sites are closed partly because of environmental damage from OHV use such as violation of clean air rules due to excessive dust from vehicles. Help prevent OHV site closures. Protect your privilege.
The future of OHV opportunities depends on YOU! Protect your right to ride. Respect the land, the wildlife, and the rights of others. Ride Responsibly.
Backcountry Rules of Conduct
- Vehicles must travel on existing roads and trails. Stay on designated routes. Do not make new trails. Stay off private land unless you have permission from the landowner.
- Do not harass wildlife, horses or cattle. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. In passing, follow the direction of horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Do not assume that cattle will move off the trail or continue in their current direction. Approach then very slowly. If you open a gate, please close it securely after you pass through.
- Riding over plants destroys wildlife habitat.
- Signs are important for travel and your safety. Do not destroy signs. It is against the law. Obey posted signs and respect closed areas.
- Avoid creating dust. Slow down.
- Keep out of closed areas. Do not trespass.
- Keep your OHV quiet. More complaints = more closures.
- Leave gates as you found them, whether opened or closed.
- Fences keep livestock confined. Do not cut fences.
- Do not drive on a route smaller than the width of your vehicle.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Do not litter.
- Reduce the risk of fire. Make sure your vehicle’s spark arrester is in good working condition.
- Be considerate of others by sharing trails. Pull off to the side of the trail, shut off your engine, and let horses and hikers pass.
- Get involved. Join an OHV club and volunteer to maintain the trails you ride. Provide your input to land managers on OHV projects.
- Camp at least ¼ mile from any livestock or wildlife water catchments, tanks, etc.
- Be legal. Set an example by complying with all equipment and licensing requirements.
- Educate yourself and your family. It's your responsibility to know the rules in the area you are riding, but don't forget your children. Are they legal? Do they know the rules? Do you know where your children are riding?
- Stay off trails when your use will leave ruts and impact the trail tread, such as during very wet or dry conditions. Use the designated play areas for high impact riding, not the trails.
- Educate others. Those who break the rules and don't ride right are threatening YOUR riding opportunities. We need your help. Talk to them and educate them. They will listen to you as a fellow rider.
- Plan ahead. Know your equipment, your ability, current conditions, and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in the weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden or offense to others.
- Designated roads, trails, and areas may be subject to temporary, emergency closures. Operators of motor vehicles must comply with nearby signs notifying them of these closures, which also will be posted at the corresponding District Ranger's and Forest or Grassland Supervisor's Offices. Operators of motor vehicles should call ahead regarding possible closures, as conditions may have changed since their last visit.
- Much of the National Forest System is remote. Medical assistance may not be readily available, and cellular telephones do not work in many areas. Operators of motor vehicles should take adequate food, water, first aid supplies, and other equipment appropriate for the conditions and expected weather.
- Check with the appropriate agency about rules and requirements. Each agency which manages land has its own rules, regulations and laws to enforce. Rules and laws change. Before riding or driving on lands, check with the appropriate agency about rules and requirements. Most areas restrict OHV use to established routes. Some OHV sites have seasonal closures to address erosion, watershed, and wildlife habitat protection concerns.
- If you observe destruction of the environment or private property while in the outdoors, notify the proper authorities.
- U.S. Forest Service-approved spark arrestor device.
- A muffler or noise dissipative device which prevents sound above 96 decibels.
- For those under 18, a properly fitted and fastened U.S. DOT-approved helmet.
- Lighted headlights and taillights, if the OHV is operated between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise.
- Sand dunes and certain areas designated by a land managing agency may require a safety flag. This flag shall be at least 6 by 12 inches and attached to the OHV and flown at least eight feet above the surface of the level ground.
Find roads, trails, and areas designated for motor vehicle use online
The U.S. Forest Service has an interactive travel which map shows the National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands that are designated for motor vehicle use. The map is searchable by vehicle class, time of year, route number, and travel mode. You can zoom into an area on a national forest or grassland, see the roads and trails in that area, and find out which ones are open to motor vehicles, and when. You can see rivers, lakes, mountain peaks, campgrounds, and topographic lines. Land ownership is shown by color. You can also print a map of the area you wish to visit.
The interactive travel map is a work in progress. We are starting with a relatively small number of national forests and grasslands participating, but we hope the number will grow quickly. Participating areas show up in dark green.
Open Interactive Travel Map http://maps.fs.fed.us/TravelAccess/