Roads by Definition
by: John Stewart
Natural Resources Consultant
California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs
The Forest Service is embarked on a mission to evaluate and designate routes of travel within the National Forest System. The final product will be a Motor Vehicle Use Map. The central theme of the MVUM is to designate the routes of travel open for public use. Current policy stipulates the MVUM will be subject to annual review and update.
The map will highlight the terms and definitions which are provided below. The USDA Forest Service recognizes five road maintenance levels (Source: Forest Service Handbook 7709.58.10):
Level 1: Is assigned to intermittent service roads during the time they are closed. The closure period must exceed 1 year. Basic maintenance is performed to keep damage to adjacent resources to an acceptable level and to perpetuate the road for future use. The road may be of any type or construction standard or may be managed at any other maintenance level when open. When at level 1, roads are closed to vehicular traffic, but may be open and suitable to non-motorized uses.
Level 2: Roads are for high clearance vehicles only. Passenger cars are not a consideration. Traffic levels are minor and usually consist of administrative, permitted, recreation, or other dispersed use.
Level 3: Roads are open and maintained for a prudent driver in a standard passenger car. User comfort and convenience are not considered priorities. These roads are typically low speed, single lane with turnouts and spot surfacing.
Level 4: Roads provide a moderate degree of user comfort and convenience at moderate travel speeds. Most roads are double lane and aggregate surfaced. Some roads may be single lane, paved, or dust abated.
Level 5: Roads provide a high degree of user comfort and convenience. These roads are normally double lane and paved. Some may be aggregate surfaced and dust abated.
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