Ouachita National Forest Set to Release Motor Vehicle Use Maps

Zoie Clift

The folks at the Ouachita National Forest
just released the below news:


Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) showing newly
designated motorized vehicle routes on the Ouachita National Forest will be
available to the public on May 9th. According to Ouachita National Forest Supervisor
Norm Wagoner issuance of the maps will officially implement the Forest’s Travel
Management Project.

“On May 9th, the maps will be posted
on our forest website,” he said.  “That will be the official start to
implementation of the new route designations.”He said the public can obtain a map of the
area where they travel by visiting their closest Ouachita National Forest
Ranger District office or by printing online maps. The online maps will be
configured to print sections that can be taped together resulting in a full
size map.
The U.S. Forest Service issued the Travel
Management Rule in 2005 which called for each of America’s 155 National Forests
to designate a travel system for motorized vehicles, including Off Highway
Vehicles (OHVs).  The rule was established to limit harmful environmental
impacts associated with unregulated OHV use on National Forest land.

For the Ouachita National Forest, the
biggest change is that most cross-country travel on an OHV, either on
user-created trails or through the open forest area, will be eliminated.

“There are approximately 3,300 miles of roads
and trails available for the public to use to travel throughout the forest,”
said Wagoner.  “We’ve worked hard with the public and our partners to
provide a good, sustainable system, and I believe we’ve made a great start.”

Options for additional or different routes
still exist.  Each local Ranger District conducts a variety of
environmental reviews and analyses as part of day-to-day business.  Some
of these analyses will examine the feasibility and effects of adding or
modifying route designations. 

According to Wagoner, the public will
continue to have an important role to play in future route designations.  “I
encourage people to continue to work with the district office where they enjoy
riding to share suggestions for potential trails or volunteer their group to
help the Forest develop and maintain new designated routes.”

In addition to route designations, game
retrieval corridors and seasonal routes are included on the maps.  Game
retrieval corridors allow large game hunters to use OHVs to retrieve legally
downed white-tailed deer and bear within up to ½ mile on either side of some
designated routes.  About half of the forest is within the ½ mile game
retrieval corridors. 

Routes that will be seasonally opened during
October, November and December, when the majority of big game hunts occur in
Arkansas and Oklahoma, are also identified on the MVUM.

Existing travel routes at the Wolf Pen Gap
Trail Complex near Mena remain open.  Managers are continuing to work with
the public and partners to identify a sustainable trail system for the popular
OHV area.  Forest Service officials will make a decision on routes at Wolf
Pen Gap in 2012. To find the location of the ranger district office nearest you


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3 comments on “Ouachita National Forest Set to Release Motor Vehicle Use Maps
  1. Pam Ferguson says:

    I truly hope this map is clear and concise and is readily available to the public.

  2. Glenn says:

    They’re slowly going to take it all away . Get out and enjoy it while you can.

  3. Ken Kaniff says:

    I have ridden the same trails and roads for 3 decades and have never seen a Ranger on any of them. I pick up other peoples litter and I will continue to ride until they lock me up.

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