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Forest Service road closures

Quiet

Active member
Due to some kind of long-standing environmental lawsuit the Forest Service in California's D3-5 zones put out some kind of motor vehicle route usage maps. Some of the trails I have taken into the Squaw Ridge area that borders the Mokelumne Wilderness are now displayed on the maps as being inaccessible to vehicles, though you can still hike to the wilderness from the point of blocked access. Have any of you experienced these closures? Are there physical barriers -- boulders, berms, locked gates, etc. -- to prevent motor vehicle use beyond these points? I don't mind hiking in but don't want to put in the effort if some one else is going to just motor on past me because the restricted route is not physically shut. Tried calling the Forest Service but no one answered.
 

OPAH

Well-known member
D11 13 15, been closing roads for years, after a fire, after rain damage, or after it has just not been maintained they are closed Never to be reopened. When called about it is the same old story, No Money, Budget Cut, can't find a contractor.

The object is to close the forest and return it to the animals, of course the banning of all hunting would also have to happen.
 
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Call the agency direct;y and get an answer from them and please repost exactly what they tell you so we all have a real answer

Thanks
 

Brnsvllyjohn

Well-known member
I think there was a mandate from the national level a number of years ago about maintaining roads in the National Forest system. I am not going to get the wording perfect but it stated something along the lines that if roads could not be maintained in a way that would keep all silt out of the waterways then they would be closed. They have been closing roads in Northern Ca. for years as a result of this rule. I don't think it will stop. Taken literally all gravel roads in the forest can contribute to silt in the waterways so who knows where they will stop. After a large landslide on one road I used it was closed forever because repairing it was not possible without some silt getting into the creeks or that is what the forest service told me.
 

Bankrunner

Well-known member
Hi Quiet,
I know which maps your talking about. I've looked at them online and they are available at forest service stations. There helpful when learning a new area. Some times closed roads are blocked sometimes they're not, someone sitting at a desk answering phones probably doesn't have a handle on which are and which aren't. Also some of the roads that are shown on the map to be open are impassable.
I wouldn't bother calling anyone. Drive on if the road is not blocked or posted and is showing tire tracks. Bring a saw in case a tree falls across your back trail.
Happy trails to you!
 
Opah Im guessing they close the roads for several reasons and one being the possibility of fires starting from vehicles etc Thoughts?
 

OPAH

Well-known member
When was the last time you heard of a cat setting a forest on fire? all legal green sticker vehicles require spark arresters and annual inspections. Yes I am sure they have more than one excuse for shutting the roads down, I know of two that were shut down for a toad and another for a frog.

Bottom line is that they are and will continue to restrict access, until no access is available, simple
 
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Bigolwiggler

Well-known member
The job of the USFS was to maintain PUBLIC LAND ( as in , owned by you and me ) for our use and enjoyment . It was also tasked with wisely using the natural resources ( timber harvest , mining etc. ) for the betterment of our nation. It seems to do VERY little of either anymore. Soon these same "progressive" people will be pulling statues down and pulling out smokey bear signs , replacing them with " Keep Out ! " signs.
 

Quiet

Active member
Here is a copy of the text pertaining to motor vehicle use prohibitions on Forest Service roads:

§ 261.13 Motor vehicle use.After National Forest System roads,National Forest System trails, andareas on National Forest System landshave been designated pursuant to 36CFR 212.51 on an administrative unit ora Ranger District of the National ForestSystem, and these designationshave been identified on a motor vehicleuse map, it is prohibited to possess oroperate a motor vehicle on NationalForest System lands in that administrativeunit or Ranger District otherthan in accordance with those designations,provided that the following vehiclesand uses are exempted from thisprohibition:(a) Aircraft;(b) Watercraft;(c) Over-snow vehicles;(d) Limited administrative use by theForest Service;(e) Use of any fire, military, emergency,or law enforcement vehicle foremergency purposes;(f) Authorized use of any combat orcombat support vehicle for national defensepurposes;(g) Law enforcement response to violationsof law, including pursuit;(h) Motor vehicle use that is specificallyauthorized under a written authorizationissued under Federal law orregulations; and(i) Use of a road or trail that is authorizedby a legally documented right-of-wayheld by a State, county, orother local public road authority.[70 FR 68291, Nov. 9, 2005]

The order seems to date back to at least to 2005. I have come across locked FS gates, but they all tended to be at the trail heads. I don't recall seeing them in mid-trail but I tend to avoid routes on their maps that look questionable. I guess I'll find out when I put boots on the ground.

I also found this on the El Dorado Natl. Forest site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldorado/home/?cid=fseprd539237. FYI.
 

husky44

Well-known member
You can thank a group called "center for biological diversity" I fought these closures as a member of a dirt biker group. Eldorado National Forest was first and the most severe to complete the closures.
Most roads are only closed by a red marker and lack of listing on the new maps. Also your vehicle must be within 12-feet of the center of a road, so remote camping is a challenge.
People (including me) are still utilizing the roads accepting the risk of a ticket. But I've seen rangers just ignore violators, some dislike the new rules as much as us.
Anyway other states National Forests have implemented restrictions although not as stringent as California. Enjoy the forest while you're able.
 


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