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Modifications to Medicine Bow National Forest Winter Travel Special Order

Medicine Bow National Forest

The Medicine Bow National Forest (MBNF) announced that minor modifications have been made to a recently-released winter travel Special Order.

The start date for usage of over-the-snow vehicles (OSV) operating off designated routes has been adjusted to Nov. 16 and the wording regarding minimum snow depth requirements for OSV off-road operation has been clarified.  Forest Supervisor Phil Cruz. said they “ listened to the public, state agencies and our staff, and feel as though we have strengthened the Order with the changes that were made.”

The following summarizes the modified Special Order provisions:

  • Wheeled motor vehicles may not be used from Dec. 15 – April 15 of each year on designated and/or groomed snowmobile trails as indicated on the current State Trails map for the MBNF.
  •  No changes were made to this portion of the Order. These dates coincide with  typical grooming by Wyoming State Trails. 
  •  Between June 1 and Nov. 15 all types of OSVs may not be used off of  designated routes shown on the local MVUM.
  •  There is no off road or cross country travel between those dates in the same way that wheeled ATVs are restricted.
  • Provided snow depth conditions allow, OSVs may travel cross country for six and a half months, from Nov. 16 – May 31.
  • The start date for OSV off-road travel is based on the average end dates for most big-game hunting seasons on the Forest, while the end date for OSV off-road travel is based around when WYDOT typically plows open Wyoming Highways 70 and 130.
  • The order sets a minimum snow depth of approximately 12 inches before OSVs are allowed off of designated routes as shown on the local MVUM. Protection of soil and vegetation resources is cited as grounds for determining if snow cover is sufficient.
  •  In order to give clear guidance to both the public and law enforcement alike, the modified Order uses the term “approximately 12 inches” in order to account for variability in snow depth, as well as the language “or when/where snow cover conditions are insufficient to protect soil and vegetation resources” in order to clarify the intent of this portion.
  • The minimum snow depth standard is intended to be site specific, IE: 12” is not required everywhere, and will be used in coordination with the established seasonal dates.
  •  The minimum snow depth standard is consistent with sister forest and administrative management unit, the Routt National Forest. 

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