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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 
3 minutes reading time (625 words)

Colorado Parks & Wildlife Announce Use Permit Enforcement Policy


(b) On and after January 1, 1991, the owner of every vehicle required to be registered pursuant to article 3 of title 42, C.R.S., and the owner or operator of every motor vehicle and off-highway vehicle from another state or country, when such vehicle is being used for recreational travel upon designated off-highway vehicle routes, shall obtain and display on such vehicle an off-highway use permit.     

This statute would require plated vehicles on designated OHV routes to have a permit. A vehicle registered pursuant to article 3 of title 42 would be a street legal, plated vehicle. OHV registrations and OHV permits both cost $25.25, but are not the same thing.   

33-14.5-101. Definitions.

(4) "Off-highway vehicle route" means any road, trail, or way owned or managed by the state or any agency or political subdivision thereof or the United States for off-highway vehicle travel.

Funds collected from OHV registrations and permits go into a dedicated fund for the State OHV program and last year over $4,000,000 of grants were given out to the FS, BLM, state and local governments for OHV trail projects.

This season:

State Parks OHV Trail Rangers began an educational effort on plated vehicles who do not have a "permit" as the statute requires. CO statute requires both residents and non-residents to purchase an OHV "permit" if they have a plated vehicle traveling on a designated OHV route or have an OHV with an OHV registration from their home state and they will be in CO for less than 30 consecutive days.   

FS MVUMs identify trails for all vehicle types including "trails open to all Vehicles" (full size included), "trails open to vehicles 50" or less" or "trails open to motorcycles only". State Parks officers are considering these "trails" as the routes at a minimum which will require a CO OHV Permit for travel on with a plated vehicle of any type. Educational efforts and any verbal warnings will be limited to these routes that are designated as "trails". No citations have been issued by State Parks officers and any warned users have been given a copy of the statute or had the statute explained. Parks officers have also visited powersport dealers when possible to discuss statute and its requirements.   

The CO State OHV Program has been in contact with several FS Ranger Districts to discuss and interpret these statutes to gain consistent enforcement. Some FS and BLM LEOs may or could interpret these statutes differently than each other or the state.  We are in the process of working with the FS and BLM on an MOU to identify which types routes will be enforced consistently as designated OHV routes and needing permits. This is one reason State Parks has began educating instead of writing citations. 

This does not mean a citation cannot or will not be written by other LE agencies. Currently most fed LEOs are making the distinction between a "road" and a "trail" with roads open to all vehicles not needing a permit and trails needing OHV registrations and permits (this is my opinion). 

Once an agreement (MOU) has been reached with FS and BLM, I will be able to provide information on consistent enforcement information from all agencies. State Parks will then implement a educational program on permits and the requirements. People who are concerned about possible citation should consider or not purchasing a permit or registration after reading the statute.  There has been much discussion on this topic but I have not heard of anyone getting a citation. Are you aware of any?

I am more than happy to answer questions or hear people's concerns on this issue....I can be reached at 303-791-1957 x 4132

Tom Metsa
Colorado State Parks
State OHV/Snowmobile Program Manager
303-791-1957 x 4132
303-470-0782 Fax


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Thursday, 19 September 2019
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