Roads, Vehicles and Access

Logging road, Washington
Wildcat Dunny Flickr
A large road network and rapidly growing use of dirt bikes, ATVs and other off-road vehicles threaten our national forests.

It is important to strike a balance between protection and off-road vehicle use in our national forests. Deep within our national forests are about 380,000 miles of roads. If connected, these roads would stretch around the earth 15 times. Abandoned since the boom-and-bust timber days, many of these roads have fallen into disrepair after years of neglect.

Right-sizing roads

The Wilderness Society works with the U.S. Forest Service, hikers, off-roaders, conservationists, and local communities to downsize this huge and out-of-date road system. Transforming a landscape scarred with unneeded roads into a functioning, healthy forest will benefit our rivers and wildlife. It will also help focus the limited funding on road maintenance for important routes to trailheads, campgrounds and other popular destinations. Our work seeks environmentally, fiscally and socially sustainable solutions.

Off-road vehicles

We work to protect our nation’s forests from excessive noise and pollution from dirt bikes, ATVs and other off-road vehicles. The majority of forest visitors enjoy quiet forms of recreation like hiking, biking, fishing and bird watching. It is critical to keep quiet areas for people to experience nature separate from areas for off-road vehicles.  The Wilderness Society works with the Forest Service and local communities to determine where off-road vehicles should operate in national forests.