Broads believe everyone has a right to enjoy public lands, but no one has the right to abuse public lands.
Stay on the Right Path
Broads takes the position that vehicular access should occur only on designated roadways and trails. Sadly, there are recreationalists who disregard travel routes—out of ignorance, disrespect, or a misplaced sense of entitlement—causing extensive damage to fragile ecosystems.
This activity harms soils, vegetation, and riparian zones, increasing erosion and degrading water quality. These impacts, combined with the noise put out by motorized vehicles, are detrimental to wildlife. Motorized access has led to increased damage and defacing of historic and prehistoric cultural sites.
It is estimated there are more than 380,000 miles of roads on Forest Service managed lands. That’s enough road to drive around the earth more than 15 times!
See Broads’ recommended reading list to learn more about the effects of unlawful vehicle access.
Greater Use, Greater Access
The number of recreational riders has increased seven-fold in less than 30 years. It is not only the higher number of people, but also the power and speed of vehicles that has made previously inaccessible backcountry easy to reach—just because a vehicle can get there doesn’t mean it should be there.
Compounding this, there is a faction of folks that seek to add roads to public lands to expand OHV recreation or access for resource management or extraction activities. Broads endorses keeping roadless lands roadless, and decommissioning roads that cause environmental degradation.
Limited Resources, Limited Enforcement
Public land agencies at local, state, and federal levels attempt to develop balanced and responsible management plans, but don’t have the funding or staff to monitor use, enforce regulations over the vast areas they manage, or properly maintain existing road systems, which leads to the degradation of roads and natural resources.
Broads and Broadbands across the country work with agencies to gather data and monitor public lands along travel corridors. This boots-on-the-ground experience gives Broads a detailed understanding of the challenges faced. We partner with agencies on specific projects, contribute to travel plans, and hold agencies to task on policies, travel plan implementation and enforcement activities.
To get involved, contact your local Broadband or work with the national office to start your own monitoring project. Watch our website for action alerts and events that provide opportunities for education, advocacy, stewardship, and (of course) fun.
Roads & Vehicular Use
Broads’ Position Statement
- New roadways and motorized routes result in the loss of wilderness characteristics and must not be created in roadless areas.
- Routes must not be designated as part of a Travel Management Plan unless a route-specific NEPA analysis has been conducted.
- Motorized and mechanized vehicle use (four-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and bicycles) on public lands should occur only on designated roadways and trails.
- Broads supports the policy of “Closed Unless Posted Open” as the underlying principle to determine where any vehicle travel may occur on public lands.
- Where appropriate, Broads will advocate for the closure and decommissioning of roadways when maintenance costs or the potential for environmental damage exceeds public use benefits.
- Public agencies must be held accountable for following and enforcing existing management plans in a timely manner.
- Management of motorized and mechanized vehicles must be consistent with stated laws, regulations, and policies.
Here’s a PDF of Roads & Vehicular Use position statement.