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RBC I The White River National Forest’s winter motor vehicle use season began began Monday and ends May 20.
During the winter season all wheeled vehicles (including bikes) are limited to plowed routes, travel allowed through designation as open in the Forest’s 2011 Travel Management Plan, or by a permit specific to the activity.
Routes and areas open to motorized winter travel are identified in the Forest’s Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM’s), which are free and available at all ranger districts and online at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/whiteriver/home/?cid=stelprdb5328680.
Mountain biking is allowed on plowed roads open to wheeled vehicles. Currently, no winter trails on the forest are open to mountain bikes, including fat-tire bikes. Trails are closed to mechanized use (bikes) during the winter season primarily to provide suitable winter habitat for wildlife, reduce soil erosion during the mud seasons and to reduce potential user conflicts.
The White River National Forest acknowledges that technology has changed that enables mountain bikes greater capability to operate on packed snow since the 2011 Travel Management Plan was finalized. The forest is currently working with local International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) representatives who will lead and coordinate a public process to develop a proposal of winter routes that would be open to fat tire snow biking.
The proposal will be based on current winter routes that are groomed and under permit. IMBA is encouraging users and interested publics to work with their local biking organizations and representatives of IMBA to better understand the process, what routes can be considered and IMBA’s potential time line. A full public input period and environmental review will be part of the project proposal.
Until then, forest users are asked to obtain and adhere to the Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps and special orders in accordance with the 2011 Travel Management Plan decision. Excluding winter wildlife closure areas, many communities and adjacent BLM lands currently have designated routes open to mechanized use (mountain biking) during the winter.
You may find more information about the winter travel season by visiting www.fs.usda.gov/detail/whiteriver/home/?cid=STELPRD B5328826. Both winter and summer MVUM’s are available to download at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/whiteriver/home/?cid=stelprdb5328680.