Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use on the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas is now restricted, according to Forest Supervisor Fred Salinas.
"OHV use on the National Forests is limited to designated routes, and the only such designation is the 85-mile multiple-use trail on the Sam Houston National Forest," Salinas said. "Cross-country and off-road use of motorized vehicles of any type is prohibited."
This rule stems from a 2005 directive from the chief of the Forest Service that required each national forest and grassland to designate specific roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use. The National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, after public participation through the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) decision-making process, is now implementing the 2005 Travel Management Rule.
"In the right places, and managed carefully, motor vehicles are an appropriate use of national forests. However, if not managed carefully, motorized recreation can damage both the land and the resources that visitors come to enjoy," Salinas said. "Each year millions of off-highway vehicles travel America's national forests legally and sensibly on designated roads and trails. A small, but growing number of irresponsible OHV users are threatening the health of all national forests by driving far off-trail and damaging fragile plants, wetlands and ecosystems."
To help visitors to the national forests and grasslands know which roads are open to vehicular traffic, the forest service has available a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) showing where motorized vehicle use is allowed on the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, by vehicle type and season of use. This will be of particular interest to hunters who use forest service roads to retrieve game.
The Motorized Vehicle Use Maps will be posted on the website: www.fs.fed.us/r8/texas/ and will also be available at the Supervisor's Office and Ranger Offices.