Last November, a group of recreation stakeholders appealed the September 22, 2008 Chequamegon-Nicolet
National Forest (CNNF) Travel Management Plan decision. The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, the
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation, the Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International, the Wisconsin
Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, the Motorcycle
Industry Council, the BlueRibbon Coalition, the Crandon Area Chamber of Commerce, the Wisconsin Off-
Highway Vehicle Association and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association joined together to
protect responsible access to the Forest under its Travel Management (route designation) Plan.
ARRA is please to report that an agreement to resolve the appeal was finalized on December 24, 2008. We
believe the agreement is a very favorable outcome for those who enjoy responsible motorized recreation in
It is important that all motorized vehicle users continue to operate responsibly, stay actively involved with
Forest Service staff in the Forest and build a record about the importance of continued use of undesignated
routes. This agreement opens the door, but it is up to the motorized recreation community to remain engaged
and act in a responsible manner or the foundation set by this agreement will be lost and the appeal have been
Please check the CNNF website often for updated information at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/cnnf/
Summary of Agreement:
The appeal had focused on the 2,292 miles of roads closed to Highway Legal Vehicles (HLVs).
In part, the Forest Service and the appealing groups agreed that:
- The present Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) would continue to show approximately 2,363 miles of
roads designated for motor vehicle use while additional input is gathered by the Forest Service to
prospectively designate other roads including "non-system" or "unauthorized" roads. Forest users will
be put on notice that a road not designated on the MVUM should be subject of comments and
information to ensure that its status will be timely reviewed for subsequent designation by the Forest
- The Forest Service will use a process of adaptive management for making open road designations. This
process will entail the Forest Service updating the MVUM on an annual basis, adding additional open
roads based on public input and other sources of information. The major methods by which the Forest
Service will add additional roads are as follows:
1 The annual mapping process will involve responding to requests by members of the public who file
written comments to the Forest Service that a particular road is used and should be designated on the
next MVUM. The annual mapping may also include observations by Forest Service employees and
the correction of mapping errors. If an individual or organization requests that a specific road be
designated, the Forest Service will review whether designation is appropriate based on the Roads
Analysis Process ranking criteria used in the initial planning process. It is recognized that if a user
requests consideration of a road for designation, it may have value to one or many users. If there are
no significant adverse effects to forest resources the road will likely be designated for use until a
more comprehensive analysis is conducted. An individual or organization disagreeing with the
decision to designate (or not designate) a specific road has the right to appeal the decision.
2 The vegetative analysis process involves the evaluation of locations throughout the forest which
precede timber harvest sales. As the Forest evaluates a location for timber sales, it will also
document roads in an area and make a determination as to whether they should be designated for
public motor vehicle use. The vegetative analysis process will result in a continuing long-term
systematic evaluation of all areas of the Forest and will eventually cover most of the areas in which
roads need to be evaluated.
3 The ATV trail development process will result in decisions authorizing additional designations of
open trails and/or roads for ATV use.
- It is understood that it may be many years before the Forest Service will have evaluated every
current road, including non-system or unauthorized roads, in the Forest.
- The parties also acknowledged that presently a significant number of forest road users may not
understand or be knowledgeable of CNNF road designations and the designation process. In response to
this, the Forest Service has agreed that it will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding motorized use
of undesignated roads with a primary emphasis on education, expected to consist primarily of notices that
a person is engaging in motorized use on an undesignated route. In the case of undesignated routes that
are gated, plainly obstructed or clearly posted as undesignated, enforcement will NOT be primarily
educational. The Forest Service will have complete enforcement discretion when necessary to address
emergency or other circumstances where motor vehicle use poses immediate and substantial risks to
public safety or conservation of Forest resources.
- Prior to the implementation of the annual MVUM update, the Forest Service will post a tracking
table of all roads that have been submitted for consideration and evaluated along with the decision on
those roads on the CNNF website.
- As part of its annual road mapping process, the Forest Service will broadly distribute public notice of the
opportunity to review its decisions to designate additional roads for public motor vehicle use or its denial
to designate specific roads. The appealing organizations have agreed to distribute these notices to their
member organizations and other user groups and to provide input to forest users and to the Forest
Service as this process continues over the years.