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View Full Version : US Forestry Service posting illegal signs!


E Pluribus Unum
09-24-2007, 8:58 AM
I went hunting for opening weekend in D8. I was riding my Polaris quad on Rancheria road where a non-sworn, non-leo US Forestry employee in a green truck flagged me down. He told me that I was not supposed to ride any non street legal vehicle on Rancheria road. He then pointed to a sign that said "Street Legal Vehicles Only".

I began to wonder afterwards; it is not a maintained road, it is all dirt. How can the regulate that and require registered vehicles? I then saw a US Forestry LEO with red and blue lights and I flagged him down later.

I asked him about the "street legal only" signs. I then asked him for the statute that REQUIRED it; what section of the code would be cited if one violated it. He said "that is a tricky situation, the Forestry Department has posted the signs requiring it but there is no section restricting it. They are trying to pass it but it has not yet passed. I said, "So how is it enforced?" He replied, "It cannot be enforced, it’s not against the law".

So basically... the US Forestry department is posting signs restricting something that is perfectly legal and their non-leo, non-sworn personnel are stopping people in the road and telling them they are breaking the law when they are not. NOBODY is riding quads up there because they think it is illegal when it is perfectly acceptable.

What can be done?

SemiAutoSam
09-24-2007, 9:13 AM
You might want to post that information here.

Or at least do a search for it there.

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/index.php

bwiese
09-24-2007, 9:22 AM
Some of this may or may not fall under local management authority ("institutional rules") if they feel land's getting too torn up they may in fact have the right to prohibit certain types of activity.

Anthonysmanifesto
09-24-2007, 9:34 AM
these guys seem to know people in the land access world

CORVA http://www.corva.org/

easy
09-24-2007, 4:03 PM
Sent link for this thread to CA4WDC land use contractor asking for input. More when reply is in.

1911_Mitch
09-24-2007, 4:36 PM
Just becuase the road base is soil, does not mean that it is not maintained. In fact the majority of soil erosion can be traced back to soil = seasonal roads. Generally speaking, the more use, the more wear, the more erosion. Seasonal roads are some of the most difficult to maintain when used extensively, however I don't think we would desire or be able to afford to upgrade the majority of roads to permanent rocked or better status.

Fate
09-24-2007, 4:44 PM
I've known (not just met) a few FS rangers and managers in my day that felt the National Forests were their own private park, from which the hoi polloi were best kept out of.

The described actions wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Bizcuits
09-24-2007, 5:17 PM
Actually most foresty and park rangers are sworn peace officers.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=851

The only NON-sworn park rangers are contracted ones, and you wouldn't be able to tell unless you asked them.

Your rant makes it sound like security guards from walmart are stopping you. They are federal and state peace officers.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_ranger


As a Forest Ranger 1, you would be a sworn Police Officer

http://www.cs.state.ny.us/examannouncements/announcements/oc/24-809.cfm

A forest and park isn't a public street with simple yes and no laws. It is land with regulations. They aren't laws they are regulations. You break the regulation, you will be REMOVED, Citated, jailed or other such action.

Example: If it is an extra dry season, and the area fire team is assisting else where, your abilities to start fires will be restricted and regulated MUCH GREATER, then normal. While there would be no new additional law for the season, it would however be a violation to break the temporary seasonal regulations.

metalhead357
09-24-2007, 5:22 PM
Somebody Page Gene...........

We need another letter about underground regs...............

Matt640h
09-25-2007, 6:51 AM
Actually most foresty and park rangers are sworn peace officers.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=851

The only NON-sworn park rangers are contracted ones, and you wouldn't be able to tell unless you asked them.

Your rant makes it sound like security guards from walmart are stopping you. They are federal and state peace officers.

Doesn't sound like he is talking about RANGERS he was talking about a Forest Service worker, which there are plenty. They are the folks emptying garbage, re-filling map dispensers and all the other "maintenance".

On another note, there are many, many dirt roads in National Forests, BLM and state land that are considered public roads, where all vehicle codes apply and off-road vehicles are not allowed. But this may not be the case here.

E Pluribus Unum
09-25-2007, 8:09 AM
Doesn't sound like he is talking about RANGERS he was talking about a Forest Service worker, which there are plenty. They are the folks emptying garbage, re-filling map dispensers and all the other "maintenance".

On another note, there are many, many dirt roads in National Forests, BLM and state land that are considered public roads, where all vehicle codes apply and off-road vehicles are not allowed. But this may not be the case here.

I beg to differ sir. Speed limits and other laws are allowed partially because of the road surface (tax money et cetera). If it is not a county-maintained road there is no speed limit.

Rivers
09-25-2007, 10:00 AM
Sounds like an episode I had with the CA DMV years ago. I had an off-road shop and wanted to sell a line of off-road-only motorcycles. DMV said I needed to post a bond, get licensed, etc. With much effort (I was waaaay poorer then!), I got the bond posted thanks to some creative (and totally legal) banking, renewed on a yearly basis. Well, comes renewal time and we've decided to discontinue selling the bikes. I contact the DMV to get our passbook for the bond physically returned to me. They say impossible, takes at least 60 days. I have a week. Just a few weeks earlier, I learned that it was never necessary to even post that bond, that the law was not in effect until the upcoming year! I make a simple mention to the DMV person who said "impossible" that "you might want to run this past your legal department since you enforced a non-existent law." I had the passbook in three days.

Contact the posting office and politely tell them:
1) you have proof that the signs are not legal (You BETTER be able to back this up! Get this documentation in writing.)
2) if the signs are not removed within 48 hours, you will contact your local newspapers, television, legislators, attorney general, district park office, etc. Have names of those managers and legislators who can cause these local park officials the most grief. Go ahead and name-drop in your conversation with the local park officials. Or suggest that you may opt to sue them personally as they are attempting to deprive you withour legal basis of your right to use public lands.
3) If the signs remain, supply the names of the local rangers to all of the above name-dropped people. Demand action.
4) Above all, be polite but firm. Have all your ducks lined up in a row before proceeding. Do not make any threats, only discuss what options you MAY pursue to rectify the situation.

Good luck. BTW, an alliance with the off-road coalition is an excellent idea as we have many common adversaries. Combining our numbers to battle issues that affect EITHER group will benefit BOTH groups in the long run.

easy
09-25-2007, 4:49 PM
Reply from John Stewert, California Assoc of 4WD Clubs Land use Rep:

Re: Illegal signage
At least they acknowledge the Forest Service LEOs are sworn officers.....

However, the real issue is WHERE is the route located AND does the county have a variance from the Highway Patrol authorizing that segment of that route being open to use by non-street legal vehicle.

Basically, the county is the controlling factor of routes as part of their "routes of travel" system. There are some that will be under the jurisdiction of CalTrans as part of the state or federal highway system.

Others are owned and maintained by the county. And, it is up to the county to enforce traffic state traffic laws on all routes within the county jurisdiction.

California Highway Patrol does establish and control the basic motor vehicle laws that the county enforces.

One section of CVC does prohibit non-street legal vehicle traffic from using ALL routes unless a variance has been granted by the Highway Patrol. Generally, farm vehicle traffic is permitted on certain maintained and non-maintained state and county routes.

Now, if the county did not apply for a variance that included other than farm vehicles on that specific route, then driving the Polaris was against state vehicle laws on that segment.

_________________
John Stewart
NRC, CA4WDC
BLOG: http://www.muirnet.net

E Pluribus Unum
09-25-2007, 6:03 PM
Reply from John Stewert, California Assoc of 4WD Clubs Land use Rep:

Re: Illegal signage
At least they acknowledge the Forest Service LEOs are sworn officers.....

However, the real issue is WHERE is the route located AND does the county have a variance from the Highway Patrol authorizing that segment of that route being open to use by non-street legal vehicle.

Basically, the county is the controlling factor of routes as part of their "routes of travel" system. There are some that will be under the jurisdiction of CalTrans as part of the state or federal highway system.

Others are owned and maintained by the county. And, it is up to the county to enforce traffic state traffic laws on all routes within the county jurisdiction.

California Highway Patrol does establish and control the basic motor vehicle laws that the county enforces.

One section of CVC does prohibit non-street legal vehicle traffic from using ALL routes unless a variance has been granted by the Highway Patrol. Generally, farm vehicle traffic is permitted on certain maintained and non-maintained state and county routes.

Now, if the county did not apply for a variance that included other than farm vehicles on that specific route, then driving the Polaris was against state vehicle laws on that segment.

_________________
John Stewart
NRC, CA4WDC
BLOG: http://www.muirnet.net



These are non-paved fire roads. In the past all registered vehicles have access.

There are two types of registration: On Road, and Off Road...

My ATV IS registered as an off-road vehicle... it has a green sticker. They are saying only Street-legal licensed vehicles are legal. I was told by a US forestry LEO that it was perfectly legal to ride the ATV on the road.

Matt640h
09-26-2007, 4:36 PM
I beg to differ sir. Speed limits and other laws are allowed partially because of the road surface (tax money et cetera). If it is not a county-maintained road there is no speed limit.

Exactly what do you beg to differ? Are you saying there aren't many county-maintained roads within NF, BLM or state land?

On another note,
The BLM and NF are currently in a process of cataloging all the trails and roads within their lands. In the past most trails and roads have been "open unless posted closed", that is no longer the case. Now it is the opposite, trails and roads are now "closed unless posted open". In northern CA they have been very busy lately posting both open and closed signs on varying trails depending on how they were cataloged. From what I've seen it has been mostly trails for OHV, not roads open to both OHV and street registered vehicles. However, even before the cataloging, there have been many dirt roads in areas that I frequent that have been posted something like "street licensed vehicles only, no OHV beyond this point". In fact there are enough of said roads that many dirtbikers have moved to street legal dual sports, then they can ride any public road and hit the trails, which helps them legally link many trails together for longer rides.

Just because one Ranger told you it was OK doesn't make it so. He could have been mistaken or things could have changed. Or maybe it has always been illegal just not enforced? Or maybe the status of this road has changed with the new cataloging of trails and roads.

You were in Sequoia NF right? If you haven't already, I would start checking here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sequoia/recreation/ohv-osv/ohv.html

If you are already a member of BRC then ignore the next paragraph.

If you are anywhere near as interested in keeping public lands open to the public, as you are to keeping your 2A rights, then I would highly recommend that you join the Blue Ribbon Coalition, linky: http://www.sharetrails.org/
The greenies are taking land away just as fast as the anti-gunners are trying to make anti-gun laws.

Good day sir,
Matt

Whitesmoke
09-27-2007, 12:22 PM
Ok....sorry to do this like this...but I used to work for the County of Kern in the Kern county Roads Dept.

I know for a fact that Rancheria Rd IS an official county maintained road. I know it is dirt....but it is still county maintained. One of the favorite jobs each year for the Sign dept guys was to drive that road and replace or repair any signs that needed it.

E Pluribus Unum
09-27-2007, 3:18 PM
Ok....sorry to do this like this...but I used to work for the County of Kern in the Kern county Roads Dept.

I know for a fact that Rancheria Rd IS an official county maintained road. I know it is dirt....but it is still county maintained. One of the favorite jobs each year for the Sign dept guys was to drive that road and replace or repair any signs that needed it.

It is not a paved road was my point.