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penalties for riding on prohibited trails on federal land ?

Old 02-13-13, 05:31 PM
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Angio Graham
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penalties for riding on prohibited trails on federal land ?

Does anyone know where I can find the specific and relevant codes that prohibit mtb riding on trails on federal land ?

I have been following the issue in Gallatin National Forest where the feds shut down almost 150 miles of trails to mountain bikers and I was wondering where I could find the codes that spell out the specific penalties for violating the closures.
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Old 02-13-13, 07:58 PM
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What does it matter...if they are closed, they are closed, regardless if they take your bike, or slap your wrist.
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Old 02-13-13, 08:30 PM
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is this in regard to that crazy police officer? my guess is stay out til its done or risk being shot tbh.....
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Old 02-13-13, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
What does it matter...if they are closed, they are closed, regardless if they take your bike, or slap your wrist.
It matters to me. I want to know what the penalties are.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:36 PM
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Sounds like a pretty shi++y deal out there. I can't help with the answer but I am interested in learning the penalties also.
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Old 02-14-13, 09:58 AM
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The BLM in Clark County, NV is handing out $400. tickets for riding old, now closed trails. The county has built some glorified MUPs out of dirt, about 5' wide to appease riders. Its a pathetic replacement. Check with the local BLM (Bureau of Land Management) office. They should know the details. Follow the rules, this is not an issue to loose a bike or a pile of bucks over. There are still plenty of good trails out there.
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Old 02-14-13, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
The BLM in Clark County, NV is handing out $400. tickets for riding old, now closed trails. The county has built some glorified MUPs out of dirt, about 5' wide to appease riders. Its a pathetic replacement. Check with the local BLM (Bureau of Land Management) office. They should know the details. Follow the rules, this is not an issue to loose a bike or a pile of bucks over. There are still plenty of good trails out there.
Rules were meant to be broken!
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Old 02-14-13, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DiscTruckerMF View Post
Rules were meant to be broken!
And thus why trails are closed...

In my area trails have been closed because people (can be hikers, equestrians and riders) can't behave and stay within the parameter of the trail cutting extra lines or tearing up terrain... I know some riders think all land is theirs to destroy but... well anyway generally explains why trails get closed.


National Forests

The National Parks Service oversees national parks and forest lands set aside for use by the public. Though these lands are specifically operated so the public has access to them, they are not open to the public at all times. Anyone who sets foot on national forest lands when they are closed to the public can be charged with trespass. The penalties for this include fines and imprisonment for up to six months.

Just FYI. Try harder and call if the information is really inmportant to you:

Gallatin National Forest:
P.O. Box 130
Bozeman, MT 59771

(406) 587-6701 (Voice)
FAX: (406) 587-6758

Visitor Information:
(406) 522-2520 (Voice and TDD)
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Last edited by Pamestique; 02-14-13 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 02-14-13, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
And thus why trails are closed...
Not in this case, apparently. Nothing wrong with disobedience to protest or annul an unjust rule, especially one promulgated by enviro wack jobs.
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Old 02-14-13, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by DiscTruckerMF View Post
Rules were meant to be broken!
but you have to be faster than me.
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Old 02-14-13, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cryptid01 View Post
Not in this case, apparently. Nothing wrong with disobedience to protest or annul an unjust rule, especially one promulgated by enviro wack jobs.
Well I rspectfully disagree... but then I am involved in wilderness land conservancy so have another prespective than you. I understand there are people out there who believe are public land should be open for any reason and if it is destroyed in the process oh well. I for one appreciate our wilderness assets and want to keep them around for all to enjoin for years to come. One only has to look at parks that are open without control and then those who are controlled. Which park is a torn up rutty, dirty over used mess and which is pristine, a wonderous joy to behold. Thankfully there are laws and penalties to keep areas safe. If you disagree take it up with the local congress person and protest responsibly...
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Old 02-15-13, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
Well I rspectfully disagree... but then I am involved in wilderness land conservancy so have another prespective than you. I understand there are people out there who believe are public land should be open for any reason and if it is destroyed in the process oh well. I for one appreciate our wilderness assets and want to keep them around for all to enjoin for years to come. One only has to look at parks that are open without control and then those who are controlled. Which park is a torn up rutty, dirty over used mess and which is pristine, a wonderous joy to behold. Thankfully there are laws and penalties to keep areas safe. If you disagree take it up with the local congress person and protest responsibly...

+1

If this were that other forum, I'd give you some rep.!
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Old 02-15-13, 11:12 PM
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As a dirtbiker, I've seen ORV trails disappear precipitously over the past 20 years. And now it's happening to mountainbikes, which do hardly any damage on dry trails. Can't they just close the trails when it's muddy and write tickets? A total ban doesn't seem appropriate.
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Old 02-16-13, 05:28 AM
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It's a difficult problem to assess, but I don't agree with the mindset of "some can't handle it, so let's close it down for everyone". Thank goodness the same concept isn't applied to the automotive world, otherwise we'd all be walking to work.
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Old 02-17-13, 11:25 AM
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I don't want to give any reason for wanting to know the penalties. I just want to decide if this is another law I want to break and to flaunt in the face of authority if at all possible.
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Old 02-17-13, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
Well I rspectfully disagree... but then I am involved in wilderness land conservancy so have another prespective than you. I understand there are people out there who believe are public land should be open for any reason and if it is destroyed in the process oh well. I for one appreciate our wilderness assets and want to keep them around for all to enjoin for years to come. One only has to look at parks that are open without control and then those who are controlled. Which park is a torn up rutty, dirty over used mess and which is pristine, a wonderous joy to behold. Thankfully there are laws and penalties to keep areas safe. If you disagree take it up with the local congress person and protest responsibly...
Disclaimer: I have only done cursory reading on this specific case of mountain bikers being deprived of formerly held rights, so perhaps you can enlighten me. First, does this area meet the definition of or is it a formally designated "wilderness?" Secondly, is there any evidence to suggest that on the day before the trails were closed to mountain bikes that the area was "a torn up rutty, dirty over used mess?" Thirdly, is there any evidence to suggest that mountain bikes are more harmful to trails and the environment than horseback riding, which is apparently still an approved use?
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Old 02-17-13, 01:31 PM
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18 USC 1863 - Trespass on national forest lands

Sec. 1863. Trespass on national forest lands
Whoever, without lawful authority or permission, goes upon any national-forest land while it is closed to the public pursuant to lawful regulation of the Secretary of Agriculture, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Edit: this seems more relevant:

36 CFR 261.55 - National Forest System trails.
When provided by an order issued in accordance with 261.50 of this subpart, the following are prohibited on a National Forest System trail:
(a) Being on a trail.
(b) Using any type of vehicle prohibited by the order.
(c) Use by any type of traffic or mode of transport prohibited by the order.
(d) Operating a vehicle in violation of the width, weight, height, length, or other limitations specified by the order.

16 USC 551 - Protection of national forests; rules and regulations

The Secretary of Agriculture shall make provisions for the protection against destruction by fire and depredations upon the public forests and national forests ... and he may make such rules and regulations ... and any violation of ... such rules and regulations shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

Last edited by hamster; 02-17-13 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 02-18-13, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cryptid01 View Post
...Thirdly, is there any evidence to suggest that mountain bikes are more harmful to trails and the environment than horseback riding, which is apparently still an approved use?
Just to answer this questrion, unfortunately there is evidence... My disclaimers: I believe most riders are respectful of the envinronment and I can say for my particular area (So Cal) we have several very concientious groups (SHARE; Warrior's Society; IRC) that routinely does viable trail work to keep things pristine.

I can only speak for my area... mountain biking is very popular here and on the weekends, popular trails can be overused. I was "patrolling" yesterday in a local wildnerness park and in the 2 hours I was stationed (plus I had to spend 30 minutes doing litter patrol which really ticked me off) I countered 102 riders (no equestrians but I suspect there was alot about 30 trail runners and hikers). Alot considering how remote I was. Anyway, here's the deal with riding... and this goes for trail runners and equestrians as well... many fail to heed the warning not to use the trail will its wet/soggy; not dried out from the last rain. The ruts left by tires, horses hooves and runners' feet will, during the next rain, become a catch or runoff for the water... one small tire track can widen into a large nasty rut that eventually will erode the trail and require work. Many new riders don't know how to ride and do things over their head... and "stutter brake" causing ruts and washouts and/or go off trail carving the singletrack wider. One person widens a track another thinks its OK to create a wider berm.

I understand the argument re horses vs. bikes and trust me, I make it all the time too but its not the tracks of the responsible riders that are destructive its the tracks of those who are not - and yes they are more destructive than horse riders. A tire track will more likely turn into a rut when the horse hoof only makes the trail uneven.

Frankly if everyone behaved, then trails would not be closed. That's it in a nutshell. Disobeying the rules gets it closed for everyone. If you have concerns I suggest you contact the local MTB group responsible in your area for trail maintenance. Generally they have a good lobbying base...
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Last edited by Pamestique; 02-18-13 at 10:27 AM.
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