BLM Roads and Public Use Oregon/Washington BLM



BLM Roads and Public Use

The Grants Pass Resource Area manages more than 1,500 miles of BLM roads in Josephine County. These roads, among other things, provide public access to campgrounds, day-use areas, trail systems, and environmental education areas; and provide legal access for hunting, fishing, OHV use, and sightseeing opportunities.

Landownership in Southwest Oregon is mixed, like a checkerboard. This checkerboard ownership pattern often causes BLM roads in Josephine County to cross over and onto private lands. Questions of legal public use on these roads often come up, and the BLM has prepared this handout to help answer such concerns:

BLM Roads in Josephine County are governed by two different sets of regulations within the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):

  • CFR § 2800, The Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976, and
  • CFR § 2812, The Oregon and California Railroad Revested Lands Act (O&C) of 1937.

There are three basic types of BLM roads within Josephine County as defined in the Western Oregon Transportation Management Plan (p. 12; Section III Standards; Subsection A).

  • Road: A linear route declared a road by the owner, managed for use by low-clearance vehicles having four or more wheels, and maintained for regular and continuous use.
  • Primitive Road: A linear route managed for use by four-wheel drive or high-clearance vehicles. Primitive roads do not normally meet any BLM road design standards. The primitive road classification is not based on the current state of disrepair or accumulated deferred maintenance on a transportation route, but rather on the general and intended condition of the route. Roads historically utilized for low-clearance passenger vehicles, but consciously allowed to degrade to roads requiring high-clearance vehicles, meet the "primitive road" definition.
  • Trail: A linear route managed for human-powered, stock, or off-highway vehicle forms of transportation or for historical or heritage values. Trails are not generally managed for use by four-wheel drive or high-clearance vehicles.