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The USA's ATV Trail Designation Process

Last time we talked about how the United States Forest Service has been methodically mapping public lands to determine which trails can be used by off-road and ATV riders. Needless to say, it€'s been an arduous task €“ over five years in the making.

Today we€'d like to take a closer look at the ATV trail designation process and try to forecast what the final result will look like.

The Forest Service is managed much like the US government itself, in a somewhat centralized fashion.  The agency head in Washington, D.C. issues broad guidelines, and the parks themselves do the legwork.  For this project, park staff must first complete an inventory of all roads and forests within the boundaries €- both designated and unauthorized.

Designated trails are precisely that: they€'ve been established for years.  Unauthorized trails may be simply under-developed or too treacherous, even for the most durable set of ATV tires.

After that €- and using the Forest Service€'s roadmap as a guide €- the government must decide what trails should be approved for motorized use.

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