Forest Service reminds public about ATV guidelines for Shawnee National Forest
The U.S. Forest Service is reminding the public that the use of all-terrain vehicles, ATVs, utility task vehicles, UTVs, “side-by-sides” and off-highway motorized vehicles is prohibited on national forest system roads and trails, as well as cross-country.
The ban includes roads and trails on the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.
All motor vehicles are prohibited from off-road travel on the Shawnee, the Forest Service stated in a news release.
National forest system roads on the Shawnee National Forest are open to motor vehicles that are licensed under state law for general operations on all public roads.
All-terrain vehicles are not licensed by the state and therefore are not authorized on forest system roads.
The Forest Service noted that it is the responsibility of the operator of the motorized vehicle to know where they are at all times.
Motor vehicle usage maps, MVUMs, show Forest Service lands and the roads under Forest Service jurisdiction. MVUMs are free and can be downloaded online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/shawnee/maps-pubs.
The Forest Service reports that its staff has seen an increase in use of off-road vehicles on the Shawnee National Forest.
The Forest Service said these vehicles damage natural resources by destroying native vegetation, causing soil erosion, degrading water quality and transporting invasive plant species to new areas of the Shawnee National Forest.
For up-to-date information on the Shawnee National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee.