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Fri, April 10

Kaibab vehicle use maps get revisions

New Motor Vehicle Use Maps are now available for the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts of the Kaibab National Forest.

New Motor Vehicle Use Maps are now available for the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts of the Kaibab National Forest.

New Motor Vehicle Use Maps are now available for the Williams and Tusayan ranger districts of the Kaibab National Forest.

The maps, which show what roads are open to motor vehicle travel, are the result of years of monitoring public feedback following implementation of the Travel Management Rule on the forest.

Maps are available for free at any Kaibab National Forest office.

These maps implement the decisions of the South Zone Travel Management Revision Project, signed in December by Williams and Tusayan Districts Ranger Danelle D. Harrison.

The biggest change stemming from that project and reflected on the new maps is the authorization of motorized dispersed camping along 276 miles of designated National Forest System roads.

Motorized dispersed camping is now authorized for 100 feet from the centerline of designated roads. Motorized dispersed camping is allowed only for ingress and egress following the most direct route from and to a designated road and for parking a recreational vehicle. In years to come, motorized dispersed camping will be authorized for 300 feet from the centerline of these designated roads. However, additional natural and cultural resource surveys will be undertaken over the next three years before the motorized dispersed camping distance is extended from 100 to 300 feet. This is to ensure forest managers can identify forest resources that may require further protection within that zone.

Prior to this new travel management decision, motorized dispersed camping was restricted to within 30 feet of forest roads open to motor vehicle use. That eliminated access for motor vehicles to many historically used and already impacted dispersed camping sites. It also created safety hazards by restricting motorized dispersed camping to within close proximity of traffic on roadways, and it negatively affected people’s camping experience by exposing them to dust, exhaust and noise. Finally, it exposed previously undisturbed portions of the Kaibab National Forest to the effects of dispersed camping-related motor vehicle traffic because people couldn’t access many historically used sites and instead starting creating new motorized dispersed camping sites in order to comply with the 30-foot regulations.

Some changes in the new travel management decision include the following;

• 14 spur roads designated for motor vehicle use have been added in the Tusayan Ranger District. These designated spur roads total approximately 1.1 miles and provide access to sites historically used for motorized dispersed camping.

• About nine miles of National Forest System roads have been closed to motor vehicle use in the Williams and Tusayan districts to mitigate resource impacts caused by motor vehicle use on these roads.

• Approximately 24 miles of National Forest System roads have been added to the road system open to motor vehicle use in the Williams and Tusayan districts. This includes 17 miles of roads that were previously closed to motor vehicle use, four miles of user-created routes that were found to have no resource concerns but that provided important access to portions of the Williams Ranger District, and 3 miles of roads in the Tusayan Ranger District needed to provide access to water tanks.

Motorized big game retrieval was not addressed in the new travel management decision, which means the rules governing it have not changed.

In addition to hard copies, several other motorized travel aid options can be accessed on the “Motor Vehicle Use Maps and Motorized Travel Aids” page on the Kaibab National Forest website.

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