What is Travel Management / Route Designation

Here is a link to The Region 5 web site that explains the Route Designation Process, statewide. Last upodated February, 2007, though. Much later information below.

Region 5 RDP, FAQ

Over the next few years, all the national forests in California, and the rest of the US, will complete an inventory of all the roads, trails, and areas used by off-highway vehicles, identify a system of routes from that inventory, and designate those routes/areas for off-highway vehicle use. A Memorandum of Intent between the Forest Service (Region 5), the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of the California State Parks and Recreation established a strategy to guide the designation process and sets a schedule for completion. That grant document had several revisions, but a final approved July 19, 2007 is here: in 6 parts:

Regulations:      Chapter one:      Chapter two:      Chapter three:      Appendix:      Glossary:


The rapid expansion of OHV travel on national forests and grasslands is impacting the natural and cultural resources of federal lands. The former Chief of the Forest Service has identified unmanaged recreation - especially impacts from OHVs - as one of the key threats facing the nation's forests today.

Unmanaged OHV use has resulted in unplanned roads and trails, erosion, watershed and habitat degradation, and impacts on cultural resource sites.

Improved management of wheeled vehicle use on National Forest System lands would allow the Forest Service to enhance opportunities for public enjoyment of the National Forest System, including motorized and non-motorized recreation experiences.

In November 2005, the Forest Service revised its national policy governing the use of wheeled motor vehicles to develop a system of roads, trails and areas designated for motor vehicle travel to minimize or eliminate the the undesirable impacts from unmanaged motor vehicle travel.

We are working with the motorized vehicle, environmental, and other non-motorized communities to identify existing motor vehicle routes and areas, and to develop a forest-level travel management plan.

Timetable for California

The following is a summary of the five steps that are designed to implement the Forest Service - State of California Memorandum of Intent, (Appendix B of the Route Designation Guidebook) and designate roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use on all National Forest land in California.

  1. Map existing unclassified roads, OHV and mountain bike trails (both National Forest System and non-system), and off-route use areas, and enter the data in Geographic Information Systems and Infrastructure databases. Designate team leaders, compile Forest OHV Management Direction, assemble needed information, identify gaps in data, prioritize, develop action plans, and begin field surveys.
  2. Issue temporary Forest Orders prohibiting wheeled vehicle use off mapped roads, trails, and off-route use areas. Involve the public.
  3. Evaluate inventoried roads, trails, and areas; collaborate with the public in developing proposed systems of roads, trails, and specifically defined areas for use by wheeled OHVs; complete surveys of information and data gaps. Involve the public.
  4. Complete analyses and prepare National Environmental Policy Act documents designating all trails and specifically defined areas for wheeled OHV use. Involve the public.
  5. Issue Forest Orders to prohibit motor vehicle use off roads, designated trails, and specifically defined areas. Involve the public. Install appropriate signing, publish motorized vehicle use map (MVUM) and implement any mitigation measures.

Implementation Goals

Our goal is to have a transportation system that is both manageable and sustainable. We will be reviewing our existing routes - plus the inventoried routes - and making adjustments to our designated system.

Route Designation

The Region 5 Route Designation Guidebook presents a 5 step process for designating routes on the 19 National Forests in California, including the California portions of the Humboldt-Toiyabe; based upon existing laws, regulations, and policies. A detailed description of all five steps and a timeline that shows the interrelationships among the steps make up the main portion of the Guidebook.

Download the Route Designation Guidebook on the Region 5 web site - (warning, it is 156 pages)

Current Status

At this point the Lassen National Forest has now completed Step 1 of the Route Designation process.

  1. Contractors completed an inventory of 4,088 routes across the Forest in November 2004. They mapped a total of 1,121 miles.
  2. The public reviewed the inventory in 2005 and submitted maps of some missed routes. This added another 320 miles to our Forest inventory. A few more miles were also mapped in 2006.
  3. Final inventory maps were completed in October 2006 and posted on this site.
  4. The comment period for the route inventory is closed. The Forest Service will no longer be adding new routes to the inventory.

[Webmaster's note - The real number is a net LOSS of 110 miles of routes]

Step 2 - Temporary Forest Order

On June 5th, 2007, Step 2 of the route designation process was completed with the issuance of a Temporary Forest Order (TFO), which prohibits motorized wheeled vehicle travel off mapped routes displayed on the exhibits with the TFO. The TFO became effective on July 12th, 2007. Copies of the TFO and maps are available free of charge from any Lassen National Forest office. The Temporary Forest Order will remain in effect for one year and may be extended for a second year.

Here is a link to the TFO: To view in larger size click the image that opens, and it'll get bigger.

Please keep the TFO maps handy and review them before you plan your trip. The TFO closed 110 miles of routes that were displayed in the inventory maps that were completed during Step 1. These routes were closed due to serious resource impacts and/or public safety concerns. Be sure you are not riding on any of these temporarily closed routes. This also affects several trails in The High Lakes OHV Area. Routes removed off the map can be considered for designation later on if resource or safety concerns can be mitigated.

The public is also reminded that Green Sticker (non-street legal) vehicles are restricted on higher standard passenger car roads on the Lassen National Forest. These roads fall under the Federal Highway Safety Act and the California Vehicle Code. Travel by Green Sticker vehicles has always been illegal on these roads. The Forest Visitor Maps displays the roads and trails that are open to Green Sticker vehicles and those that are not. Please refer to the information on the back of the map for more details. This map may be purchased for $9.00 from any Lassen National Forest office. Forest Service personnel and Law Enforcement Officers will focus on educating users about this restriction until our final Motor Vehicle Use Map is published in 2008 (Step 5 of the Route Designation process).

We are currently working on Step 3 of the Route Designation process.

Step 3 involves the identification of a motorized road and trail system to determine what types of motorized vehicles are appropriate on what parts of the system and if seasonal restrictions will apply.

From September 18th to December 8th, 2006, we asked for your help in “nominating” routes or areas you would like to either designate for motor vehicle travel, to close, or to convert to a non-motorized trail. Maps of your proposed routes have now been prepared and will be presented at two July open houses.

A “discussion draft” of our proposed transportation system has been developed based on public feedback and other evaluation criteria. Together, we will review the “discussion draft” and assess whether the proposed routes provide a sustainable OHV system.

The “discussion draft” includes loops and access to fishing areas or favorite dispersed camp sites with as many linking roads as possible. Route evaluation criteria for step 4 (the environmental analysis of the proposed system) will also be presented for your review.

Maps of the “discussion draft” routes will be available on this site on July 6, if you wish to review them ahead of time. CDs of the maps will also be available at that time as well as at the open houses.

Summary of Respondents Feedback from Fall 2006 Comment Period

An Overview of Public Comments


A total of 878 public feedback forms were submitted by December 8, 2006 with 2,140 non-system and system routes identified.

  1. Respondents wanted loops. They also wanted loops that would interconnect with each other. A lot of feedback forms mentioned being able to spend a part or a whole day in an area depending on how many different routes respondents felt like taking.
  2. Respondents liked routes that had a destination or a scenic trip to a destination. Feedback forms would have comments like “Route has great views of Lassen Peak up to the ridge top”, or “I ride this route often to see the lake.” There were fewer comments about the nice ride in the woods than comments about views or a destination.
  3. Respondents see no problem with mixed use and recommended it on most routes, both unclassified and classified.
  4. Respondents did not want to have to trailer up their vehicles to continue their ride. They wanted different areas connected by mixed use routes.
  5. Respondents preferred remote areas over more populated areas. Feedback forms had comments like “good ride in a remote area” or “a great place to ride in the woods”. There were also a few comments like “a great place for all the people from Redding to ride.”
  6. Respondents showed little concern if their route was on private property. Many feedback forms had routes or portions of routes highlighted across private land, even if the map legend showed there was no legal access.

There were only a handful of comments that said keep every route open.

Most feedback forms were well thought out. Respondents had obviously spent a good bit of time capturing their thoughts. The forms showed respondents were taking this quite seriously and were willing to use their free time to be heard.

Most feed back forms were completed by motorized users (over 90%). Besides one block of forms from one respondent, the “close the route” segment of our publics did not use the forms to express their input into the process.

There were not many comments from single track users. Not many requests for less than 50 inch routes, but respondents had no problem with mixed use.

Most feed back forms did not have question #5 about risks and risk avoidance completed. If they did mention risks or problems with a route they captured that thought in the comment section of question #6.

Many people did not use a numerical value to show how often they used a route. Instead of “20” they would say “every weekend during the summer”.

Webmaster's note: While the above report of the comments sound good, and representative of what the input was, all of the above was IGNORED, and all loops eliminated, all dispersed camping reduced to 4 lakes.

Discussion Draft Information

Step 3 - Discussion Draft Maps

The discussion draft maps reflect the following strategy we used to propose changes in our forest transportation system.

  1. Provide access to historically used recreation sites such as dispersed campsites, fishing sites, scenic vistas, etc.
  2. Focus on changes to our current road system to provide loop opportunities and long distance tours on Forest Service roads. This includes proposals to reduce maintenance levels on existing Forest Service roads to allow travel by Green Sticker vehicles and proposed mixed use on some Forest Service and County roads to provide connectors to other off-highway vehicle (OHV) routes. The Forest Supervisor has decided the Lassen National Forest will comply with the California Vehicle Code, which allows mixed use on segments of “forest highways” if three miles or less.
  3. The designation of non-system routes were proposed where needed to link with Forest Service roads, campgrounds or communities to provide an OHV opportunity where appropriate.
  4. Non-system routes that crossed private property were not recommended.
  5. Non-system routes that encroached on State highways were, for the most part, not recommended.
  6. Non-system routes that paralleled permitted power lines on national forest lands were generally not recommended and will require consultation with the permit holder.

All routes that the public commented on last fall were screened against our resource, social, and economic indicators:indicators: [85kb]. Some routes have not been proposed due to the following:

  1. There are numerous resource constraints associated with the route such as archaeological, riparian, or wildlife impacts, etc.
  2. The Forest Service has no public right-of-way across private property and the route can not be designated until legal access is obtained from the landowner.
  3. The route encroaches onto a State highway with public safety issues.
  4. The route is a short spur or does not provide a link to a longer system of routes for an OHV opportunity. The social value and riding experience were considered low.
  5. The route is located in a subwatershed that already has a high road density that exceeds management direction in our Forest Plan.
  6. Portions of the route are not sustainable because they cross steep slopes with erosive soils.
  7. The Forest Service does not have the ability to maintain the route.

You may print off the quarter quad maps of the areas you are interested in and review the routes that have been initially proposed for designation. If you feel there is a serious omission in the discussion draft maps, please complete a short feedback form and send us this information postmarked no later than August 1, 2007. You do NOT have to re-submit the comments that you sent us last fall.

This new feedback form is designed to capture your comments about gaps in the proposed transportation system for travel by Green Sticker vehicles and if we missed a route that provides access to a dispersed camp site or other recreation site, etc. We tried to capture all of these sites on the discussion draft, but because there are so many of them throughout the forest, we may have missed a few that you like to camp at.

Map Description

To assist the public in viewing and printing these maps, the Inventory Maps have been divided into quarter quadrangle maps. The quarter quadrangle maps are based upon USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle maps. They have been divided into smaller map sizes for easier viewing and printing.

The maps were created using Geographic Information System (GIS) layers. The base layer is the USGS quadrangle with roads and trails shown as linear features in the background (lighter lines). The routes that were surveyed by GPS units during this or previous projects are shown in heavier lines, as described in the legend on each map.

last updated including Temporary Forest Order 6/7/2007:  All current maps are here: [More recent maps have been released, see below - although they are very deep in the web site, and difficult to find. But see below WE have them.]

Discussion Draft Maps for the The High Lakes area

Get the Discussion Map Legend [84kb]
For Lott Lake, Spring Valley, Soda Ridge and start of Bear Lake routes use this map:
For the rest of Bear Lake route and Bear Lake campsite and snow pond camp to Campbell Cow Camp route use this map:
For Ben Lomand route and Chips Lake use this map:
For Saddle Lake, Grassy Lake to Pine Creek and Tobin Ridge use this map:

On August 2, 2007, the day AFTER the comment period ended, a NEW set of maps appeared buried deep on the Lassen N.F. site. The NEW maps show the RECOMMENDED changes. Some of these changes include closure of routes that were NOT shown as up for discussion, adding several routes to a downgrade from long, historic use by all vehicles to single track, and routes recommended for summer/fall use only.

We were assured in the stage 1 & 2 of the process that "The High Lakes were a special area and there would be no changes" to "There won't be any changes for summer/fall to winter use."

From the following maps, it appears that a plan is already in place, to nearly close the area to camping, and winter use, and severly limit the routes even available, to a group of users that is growing, while the camps, firerings and routes are shrinking.

Here are the maps of "recommendations". Compare them to the maps above.

For Lott Lake, Spring Valley, Soda Ridge and start of Bear Lake routes use this map:
For Saddle Lake, Grassy Lake to Pine Creek and Tobin Ridge use this map:
For the rest of Bear Lake route and Bear Lake campsite and snow pond camp to Campbell Cow Camp route use this map:
For Ben Lomand route and Chips Lake use this map:

Found one more map, showing non-system routes, and the routes in The High Lakes based upon after the emergency closure, and at the point of discussion darft. It is 5.2 MB     CLICK HERE



Added to include the latest, October 25, 2007 information





This brings us up to the current point in the Process as of this date

More will be added as it becomes available.