Anyone know what the fine is for riding off trail on USFS land?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Jonny360, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Jonny360

    Jonny360 Been here awhile

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    Alright don't freak out here, We have a ton of tails in my area of california. But seems that their status is constantly changing. Today we were riding a trail, that apparently half way through became hiking, biking, or equestrian only. But there was no block and no sign, I only found out after while looking at our gps track.

    So i'm curious to know. Has anyone ever been fined for riding on a trail not designated for motor vehicle use, or not listed as a trail at all? How much is the fine?
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  2. avejoe

    avejoe Been here awhile

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    I don’t believe there is a set fine. I think the LEO’s report and ultimately the judge will dictate actual penalties up to an established maximum depending on the specific charge(s). If you’re roosting a meadow and shooting Red Legged Frogs into the air assume a high dollar fine.
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  3. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    I have no personal experience , but I believe the F.S. Can technically charge you for environmental damage and remediation. So the fine is small potatoes.
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  4. mattebox

    mattebox Been here awhile

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    According to the warning on the MVUM, the maximum fine is $5000 and/or 6 months max imprisonment for violations of 36 CFR 261.13. To be legal, you have to follow the MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map) and any closures posted in the Alerts and Notices for that forest. Every national forest is required to publish a MVUM. It's a free PDF on the FS website. Also some mapping apps have it loaded inside or some apps allow you to add the PDF onto the map and geo reference it to show your position on it.

    To find both of these, just Google these terms:

    "Name of your national forest" + "MVUM"
    "Name of your national forest" + "Alerts and Notices"
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  5. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Based on zero actual experience I think you could get off with a warning the first time caught riding something illegal if you pulled out the MVUM, pointed to a nearby legal road or trail and said you thought that's where you were.

    The resolution of MVUMs makes them virtually impossible to navigate by in areas where there are no signs on the forest roads.

    Of course if you are on a single track, and the forest has closed all the single track for a 1000 square miles, this won't work.
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  6. justlookin

    justlookin Been here awhile

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    I have been cited in National forest in Ohio several years ago. I was on top of a hill looking down on a access road below when a ranger came in, stopped jumped out and yelled at us to come down. My buddies stayed while I rode down and as I weaved back and forth to cross logs and such this guy is running back and forth like Barney Fife so I stopped about half way down and yelled “ Hey I am not running from you, I am coming to you” I heard him so “oh” so I continued down. Now this area had been legal just a few weeks earlier and had been part of a venture with a paper company and the forestry. Anyway he wrote all of us, so don’t count on these rangers being reasonable.
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  7. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    So what was the fine or how long did you spend in jail?
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  8. justlookin

    justlookin Been here awhile

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    Don’t remember the amount , about 10 years ago. No jail time but the way things started off that is what I was expecting. I am going to say it was around 100$ , if it had been big money, I would have remembered !
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  9. hennikerjd

    hennikerjd I am Jack's wasted life

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    Basically what it has come to is that you can't do a damn thing without first consulting the authorities - who probably can't figure it out either.
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  10. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    precisely

    but you'll be wrong no matter what

    they have to protect that dirt after all

    until the logging operations start, then everything is aaaaaaok
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  11. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    This is 100% correct and should you be cited for off designated route travel in a wilderness area plan on also losing your ride and paying for the helo the agency will contract to fly your ride out.
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  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    In my experience if your were not on an MVUM road or trail, the majority of the time you would not be in a Wilderness Area.

    Especially if you were in an area with a fairly high density of legal roads and trails.

    And also especially if you were riding on something that looked like a road.

    Generally Wilderness Area boundaries are well-marked, but you could stumble into one by accident if you were well off a main road.
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  13. mcnut

    mcnut Long timer

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    Lots of legal designated singletrack is often very close to Wilderness boundary. Some legal designated trails continue into Wilderness as nonmotorized. A few are "cherry stemmed" into or through Wilderness.
    But I agree in most cases you would have to have your head up your a** to mistakenly enter Wilderness, but if you do the penalties are severe.

    Bruce
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  14. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I just talked to a few friends who have near first hand knowledge of recent citations for illegal off-MVUM riding.

    The fine is $250 in NM and CO. They aren't giving warnings first anymore.

    In one case someone got a license number of a bike riding illegally and the cops came to the guy's house to give him the ticket.
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  15. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    Few of the inmates here in Charlotte was riding up near Boone, NC and accidentally wandered off the USFS trail and while resting for few minutes was approached by a ranger. They all got tickets and I believe the fine was $350.00 each and there were about 6 riders.
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  16. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    public sentiment, earned.
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  17. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    This happened few years back and the group was simply resting off trail and shooting the bull when they saw a Ranger walking up the trail and approaching them with his hand cupped over his gun holster. The riders were more surprised than anything else......
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  18. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    I don't know why, but sometime in the late 90's they stopped sleeping in the shade, and got out to harass everyone within sight about everything possible.

    before the 90's they all acted like Andy Griffith, pleasant, helpful, gentile.
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  19. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    Not all National Forests have published MVUMs.
    Despite being ordered to do so by a legal case several years ago.
    They go yada, yada, yada.... we don't have the money, we are still working on it, the dog ate it, IT'S NOT MY FAULT!

    And they can change by a notice on the web site, and they may revise them from year to year.
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  20. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    went through this locally. when I asked about scheduled for road closings, signage signifying road closures, gates etc I ran into all kinds of gotchas....

    open gate on one end, no signage= still get fined
    removed gate,(rednecks tear them down) no signage= fined
    no signage= fined
    no marker at all (95% of our roads)= fined
    open vs closed missed by one day/week= fined
    SHOWING the ranger on the mvum that today, this road should be open according to their info= fined

    there is no leeway, no grace, no thinking or consideration... if their idea is you're wrong, then you're wrong.

    no argument, no way around it. you can pull out the mvum, show them the road, pull out the GPS and show them your current location on the mvum... nope it still doesn't matter. fined.

    don't even get me started on the rules about getting off trail/road. you can end up with time of fines for pulling over to take a piss. then look a quarter mile down the road and there's a full on logging operation clear cutting and dumping clay/oil/grease (maintenance happens) right on the creek. you're wrong, they're ok.

    they'll drive by the same dump piles week after week, do nothing about it, claim they don't have the money to do anything at all... but then take credit for it in photo ops when the community and trail users clean it up themselves.

    this is why so many people care nothing about, and no respect for, the Forest Circus.
    #20