If you camp or boondock in any of the National Forests, you have probably heard of the new motor vehicle use restrictions that are being incorporated into the management of the National Forests extending to all the forests eventually. This plan designates which of the roads in each national forest are permitted for motor vehicle use as well as indicating areas for dispersed camping (areas approved for boondocking).
These drivable roads and dispersed camping areas are identified on what the forest service calls Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) and are available at forest service offices, from rangers, and online. It has been a large project for the individual forest supervisors whose responsibility it was to identify the usable areas and develop the maps.
One individual that has been of great informational help to me in writing about the plan’s rollout is Mike Dechter, the NEPA Coordinator of the Coconino National Forest in Flagstaff, Arizona. If you want to understand how the plan should work, look no further than the efficient handling by the Coconino NF rangers and staff.
In an email to me on April 14, Mike wrote:
The Coconino National Forest has published an updated and revised Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) beginning today, which will show all of the roads, trails and areas open to motor vehicle use on the Forest.
The MVUM is re-issued each year, is free to the public and is available at all Coconino National Forest offices, nearby national forest offices, and related businesses in Phoenix and northern Arizona. A digital version of the map can also be downloaded for use on smartphones, tablets and Garmin GPS devices.
In addition to hard copy paper MVUMs, the public can also get a free Coconino National Forest Travel Map. This is an electronic color map with shaded relief topography, game management units, hiking trails, and all designated motorized routes and areas. When using this map with the Avenza PDF Maps App, this map is GPS-active meaning you can see where you are on the map as you drive or hike on the national forest. Instructions for how to get the free map and app on your mobile device can be found at http://tinyurl.com/Coconino-mvum. Steps for downloading the updated maps on your smartphone or tablet are included below in this e-mail.
By going into the Coconino website you can learn how the procedure should work in all the other national forests also, a necessity for future boondocking in the National Forests. Download the MVUM as well. Follow the instructions below to install the free map app on your cell phone.