Forest Service Road

gabenzeke

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Oct 28, 2015
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Last year, the hunt advisors in CO sent me on my way to an area only to find out the forest service road system was closed. This year, I'm looking at hiking in right off the very end of a forest service road. First, who would I call to know for sure ahead of time the road will be open. Second, is it legal to park my rig right on the end, or maybe even off the side of a forest service road to save some hiking distance?

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Tod osier

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Sep 11, 2015
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Last year, the hunt advisors in CO sent me on my way to an area only to find out the forest service road system was closed. This year, I'm looking at hiking in right off the very end of a forest service road. First, who would I call to know for sure ahead of time the road will be open. Second, is it legal to park my rig right on the end, or maybe even off the side of a forest service road to save some hiking distance?

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Call the forest headquarters to find out fi the road is open and where you can park - you can usually get exactly the information you need from the office. Ask for someone who knows.

Additionally, federal land managers have to produce and provide for free and vehicle use map that details exactly what roads are open and when they are. These maps are useful to find out the road name/number and when they are expected to be open.
 

kjack_74

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Dec 12, 2016
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Burns, Or
Call the local forest ranger district that the road is on and yes you can park your rig like that, just don't block a road and if it's at the end of the road where there is a turnaround don't make it so others can't turnaround ... Basically don't be a floppy part of the male anatomy, being considerate goes a long way.

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BigAntlerGetter

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Gypsum, CO
Get the map from the forest service, if it is closed and you are on it even if it's not marked as closed (many closed signs get ripped out by people that think they should be able to open roads wherever they want) you will get a ticket. If your map you get says it's open you're fine.
 
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gabenzeke

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One last question (I think) if this road is open but has deadfall across it, can you carry a chainsaw to move the dead trees in NF land? Saw a guy do it last year on the edge of wilderness, but that doesn't mean it's legal.

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mfllood3800

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In Utah national forest, it is not legal to remove trees with out a permit and in marked sale areas only, with that said, we all carry chain saws and "help" the first service by keeping trails clean for them at no extra charge, I have had to do it coming back out, and didn't want to spend night out there with out proper gear .
There are laws on the books, and then there is common sense

Bit I have heard of hunters including outfitters purposely blocking access

Yea it's a tough world sometimes

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Tsnider

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Carbondale, CO
yeah i ran into some of the same stuff. some of our mapping software available shows 4x4 trails that are used for forest service only, so be careful. i seem to have found several in unit 43.
 

kjack_74

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You can remove trees across roads designated as open, a permit would only be required if you are taking the tree either for firewood or as some sort of other useable/salable product (think fence stays, poles, chainsaw carved bear you see at every flea market)

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5MilesBack

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Bit I have heard of hunters including outfitters purposely blocking access
A few years ago I scouted a new area the end of July. Opening morning the end of August I drove up the 2-track and after I entered a large Aspen field right in the middle of it.......someone had cut down several green Aspens and built a makeshift gate across it. Then put up official FS signs on it designating it closed. There were even several "excess" trees cut down that were just laying next to the closure.

I think it was an outfitter that didn't want anyone else back there. I don't think the FS routinely cuts down several green trees to build a blockage, and on top of that builds it right in a spot where it's impossible to turn around. I had to back out of the curvy 2-track in the dark several hundred yards. My Toyota even bares a battle scar from a tree from that. I called the District FS office on it and never heard back from them.
 

justinspicher

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I had to cut several trees down last year to block FS roads because the signs we posted were either ignored or pulled out. Sometimes there is room to turn around, other times there isn't.

The forest district you are planning on hunting in should have an MVUM labeling the roads and trails within the FS boundaries and what is able to be driven on them. They aren't much of a map, usually a white piece of paper with black lines similiar to a strip map.

If/when you call your forest district, ask to talk to the trail maintenance supervisor. They can tell you much more about the conditions of the roads and trails, closures and various other info to help you get where your going. Much better than the folks sitting at the front desk.
 

5MilesBack

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Sometimes there is room to turn around, other times there isn't.
In this case.....it would have been really easy to just block the 2-track where it went into the Aspens where there was plenty of room for vehicles to either park or turn around. But being where it was, it was almost as if they wanted the blockage hidden. This wasn't a well-used trail and ended just another mile up the trail. On top of that, you could have gotten a 2wd vehicle back there on it. There is another access 4wd trail that gets close to there but not as close as this one got. But it is closer now that the blockage is there. But that 4wd trail is rough enough that it keeps most the people out. I still think it was an outfitter.
 

justinspicher

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It wouldn't surprise me, a lot of outfitters feel that they "own" an area and therefore nobody but their clients should be allowed to have access.
 

Bubblehide

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May 13, 2015
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There are some rare exceptions, but the vast majority of roads open to the public have a 15' right of way on both sides (I am not talking paved and curbed). So yes, you can legally park just off the road.
 

BigAntlerGetter

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Gypsum, CO
It wouldn't surprise me, a lot of outfitters feel that they "own" an area and therefore nobody but their clients should be allowed to have access.
Some but not all, but yes I have seen outfitters act that way. Most though know we share the land, and the only time an outfitter "owns" the land is the spot where they are required to put their tent by the USFS. So we can kick you out if you're in that spot.
 

xziang

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Nebraska
Hope the OP doesn't mind me tying this onto his thread.. For Colorado if the forest service road is CLOSED does that mean it is just closed to motorized vehicles and you are still allowed to take a pedal bike on it?
Or would it have a designated sign saying closed to motor vehicles only? (implying pedal bikes are legal)
 

BigAntlerGetter

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Gypsum, CO
Most have the brown fiberglass sign that says what they are open and closed to. But many times the signs get run over or ripped out which makes it your responsibility to read the map and see what's open and what's not. Usually if it's closed to motor vehicles it is still open to horses, hiking and bikes. Most times unless it's a temporary closure they make a berm past the fiberglass sign, to help show the message. But if it is a temporary closure maybe a year or so for soil conservation or whatever it just has a fiberglass sign.
 

black dawg

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sw mt
Like said many times already, have the correct mvum for the area you are in, then you will know you are in the right. Around here, people take it upon themselves to close gates to keep others out of their areas, people also open gates that are supposed to be locked, and if you go through that gate, it is on you. A few years back we went spring bear hunting in an area that I hadn't been into in probably 15 years. There always was an ancient FS gate at the bottom that had been open as long as I can remember. So, we drive through this gate in the morning, and when we came back to that gate in the evening, it was closed and locked. After a nice walk into cell service, I was able to get F&G to come unlock the gate, and met up with the FS enforcement officer at the bottom of the mountain. After a long speech about "endangering my family" by not knowing that that road was supposed to be closed (and always has been apparently), he was getting ready to write a ticket of some sort (probably something to do with me being really pissed), When he got some sort of emergency call, and I was off the hook. My bad attitude was because of him accusing me of endangering my family, when HE was the one closed the gate, and tells me "it didn't look like anybody had driven through there in several days".....the road was soft, and my at the time 3yo boy could have told you somebody had driven back there.

One other courtesy and law, that many people don't really think about, is to not block gates.
 
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gabenzeke

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Called the FS as suggested by justinspicher. The road was decommissioned quite some time ago. So long, the guy had no idea what I was talking about and had to do some research to find it. He said I can park along the main road provided I don't block anything and then thanked me for the challenge of finding the spot. I'll take that as a good sign. Thanks everybody!

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