Flagstaff AZ (April 10, 2012) – On May 1, the Coconino National Forest will implement the Travel Management Rule, which is mandated across all national forests and prohibits motor vehicle use off designated routes and roads.
The purpose of the Rule is to provide for appropriate motorized access and motorized recreation opportunities while protecting important forest resources and non-motorized recreation opportunities.
“This will be a big change requiring users to only drive on those routes and areas shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map,” said Forest Supervisor, Earl Stewart. “In the past, people were able to drive off of roads with their motor vehicles, which created new roads and impacted the natural and cultural resources of the forest. Travel management will help us balance the public’s enjoyment of motorized travel with the best possible care of the land.”
Under the new system, there will be over 3,000 miles of roads and trails open to motor vehicle use on the Forest. In addition, the Motor Vehicle Use Map includes over 600 miles of camping corridors where forest visitors can drive off the road up to 300 feet to car camp. Certain roads have been closed to protect wildlife, water quality, archeological sites, or other resources, but the majority of forest roads are still open to motorized vehicle use.
The key to understanding the motorized transportation system is the Coconino National Forest Motorized Vehicle Use Map, which will be available for free at all Forest Service offices in northern Arizona beginning in late April. In addition to the hard-copy map, data on designated routes and areas is available for download and use with smartphones and Garmin GPS devices.
The Coconino National Forest began the planning process for the Rule in 2006 after the establishment of new federal regulations in November 2005 required all national forests to determine a system of roads that could be used for access to the forests.
Over the past six years, Coconino NF has provided a number of proposals of a designated road and trail system to the public for review and comment. These public comments were used to develop a comprehensive analysis called the Final Environmental Impact Statement, on which the recent Travel Management decision was based.
Forest planners undertook a lengthy process to determine what routes were most important to the various publics, what areas were most in need of protection, and what members of the public had to say. Implementation of the Travel Management Rule is the culmination of this six-year-long planning process.
Additional information about the implementation of the Travel Management Rule on the Coconino National Forest is available on the web at http://go.usa.gov/PEB. The Motorized Vehicle Use Map is also available through the website. If you discover errors on the Motorized Vehicle Use Map, notice problems with road signs on the Coconino National Forest, or have any general comments about travel management, please visit the website and complete the “Travel Management Feedback” form.
For additional information, please contact the Coconino National Forest at 928-527-3600.