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Motor Vehicle and Mountain Bike Trespass Toolbox

This toolbox provides information useful for managers to address the willful or inadvertent travel by snowmobiles, OHVs, or other types of vehicles (including mountain bikes) inside wilderness. Management agency regulations and policies are provided along with examples of management practices such as strategies, agreements, and signing. In addition to the resources provided here, you may also be able to obtain advice and recommendations through discussion on Wilderness Connect. Date of last update: 5/30/17.
  1. Introduction
    Vehicle trespass in wilderness is potentially one of the most serious intrusions and it can have significant impacts on both the visitor’s experience and the biological and physical resources. Types of trespass include willful or inadvertent travel by snowmobiles, OHVs, or other types of vehicles.

    To protect the wilderness from vehicle trespass it is often necessary to identify the exact problem in terms of location, timing, and user groups, and then develop a strategy to address the problem. A successful strategy will include elements of information, education, law enforcement, and possibly engineering and boundary location and posting.

    Included in this Toolbox are materials developed by the staff on the Hahn’s Peak Ranger District of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest in Steamboat Springs, CO and currently in use by the Forest Service in the Rocky Mountain Region. The materials provide examples of the strategy, a letter to the snowmobile club, information posters for trailheads and other locations, and law enforcement regulations and procedures.

    For further information, contact Jon Halverson, (970) 295-6723 or or Ralph Swain, 303-275-5058 or
  2. Management Regulations, Policies, and Practices
    1. FWS Policy
    2. FS
      1. Policy
      2. Regulations - Motor Vehicle Use in Wilderness

        36 CFR Sec. 293.6 Commercial enterprises, roads, motor vehicles, motorized equipment, motorboats, aircraft, aircraft landing facilities, airdrops, structures, and cutting of trees.

        Except as provided in the Wilderness Act, subsequent legislation establishing a particular Wilderness unit, or Secs. 294.2(b), 294.2(c), and 294.2(e), paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, and Secs. 293.7, 293.8, and 293.12 through 293.16, inclusive, and subject to existing rights, there shall be in National Forest Wilderness no commercial enterprises; no temporary or permanent roads; no aircraft landing strips; no heliports or helispots, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, motorboats, or other forms of mechanical transport; no landing of aircraft; no dropping of materials, supplies, or persons from aircraft; no structures or installations; and no cutting of trees for nonwilderness purposes.
  3. Case Law
  4. Examples and Resources
    1. Boundaries and Vehicles in the California Desert Wilderness Areas
    2. DOI Interagency Agreement 2004
    3. Local Operating Agreement between Nevada BLM, FWS, NPS, FS
    4. FS Region 2 Snowmobile Trespass Strategy
    5. FS Region 2 Sample Letter to Snowmobile Clubs