Ouachita National Forest Set to Release Motor Vehicle Use Maps



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
visit  www.fs.usda.gov/ouachita.

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