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National Forest Service Reminds Community E-Bikes are Classified as “Motorized Vehicles”

LEWISTON – Bicycles assisted by an electric motor— commonly called e-bikes— are an increasingly popular way to enjoy the outdoors. Hunters frequently use e-bikes, as well, for quiet access to remote areas and assistance with game retrieval.

With fall hunting season underway, the U.S. Forest Service – Idaho Panhandle National Forests reminds riders that e-bikes remain classified as “motorized vehicles” under the USDA Forest Service’s Travel Management Rule. As such, they must operate on the same routes designated for other motor vehicles. Operating an e-bike on closed roads, behind locked gates, or on trails designated for non-motorized use, is illegal and subject to punishment, including fines.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests offers more than 4,000 miles of roads legally open to motorized travel, and more than 1,500 miles of trails designated for motorized use.

Everyone planning to drive or operate an e-bike on the National Forest should obtain a Motor Vehicle Use Map, or MVUM, for the area they will visit. It is the user’s responsibility to ensure they are riding on an authorized, motorized route by verifying the travel designations on the MVUM. Visitors should not rely on any other maps for making decisions about motorized travel.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests are covered under three different MVUMs: Kaniksu, Coeur d’Alene, and St. Joe. These maps are free and available in both hard copy and online versions. Paper maps are available at any Forest Service offices on the Idaho Panhandle (except the Coeur d’Alene Nursery).

Maps are available for download through the forest website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ipnf/maps-pubs

Or download an MVUM to your smart device using the Avenza Maps app: https://www.avenzamaps.com/ These geo-referenced PDF maps track your location on the road system even when you’re not connected to the internet, making them an ideal navigation tool for remote areas.

You can find more navigation tools and information on the Forest Service Interactive Visitor Map: https://www.fs.usda.gov/ivm/