New map outlines motor vehicle routes in Tongass

Posted: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Off-roaders and all-terrain vehicle fans can pick up a copy of a new map outlining roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use by the U.S. Forest Service.

The maps for motor vehicle use on the Tongass National Forest recently became available in Juneau and are available at the Juneau Ranger District office on Mendenhall Loop Road. There is a separate map for each district or unit.

The maps were developed as a requirement of the 2005 Travel Management Rule, to balance land protection with public enjoyment of motorized vehicles.

The maps identify areas, vehicle classes and seasons open to motor vehicle use. Using off-road vehicles off designated routes is prohibited.

The agency's definition of motor vehicles includes any self-propelled vehicle other than a wheelchair, including off-highway vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles and off-road vehicles such as 4-by-4 trucks or Jeeps.

The prohibition does not affect the use of snow machines.

Tongass land managers worked with motorized sports enthusiasts, conservationists, state and local officials, tribal governments and others through a series of public meetings and comment periods to gain public input before making any decision on a particular road, trail or area.

Each unit or ranger district is required to look at motor vehicle use areas annually and modify them if needed. Maps will be updated each year with a current-year stamp printed on them.

Drivers must obtain a valid map for their area and be knowledgeable about restrictions, the agency said.

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