Room to roam for Off Highway Vehicle riders

Nevada boasts some of the best land for those who crave some off-road time. Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) have developed a large and passionate following over the years. As prices for OHVs continue to drop over time, more and more people can choose the trail less taken.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maintains millions of acres of land in Nevada. Depending on how it’s used, public land can be designated as Open, Limited or Closed to OHV travel.

Open lands have no OHV travel restrictions. Riders can go anywhere on Open land, on or off paths. Riders shouldn’t permanently alter the land, however, by building tracks or ramps.

The BLM’s Winnemucca District has 288,000 acres of Open lands, including the Sand Dunes off Hwy 95 and a large part of Bloody Shins Trail area in Winnemucca. OHV riders should stay off the bicycle paths in Bloody Shins, though, as OHV tires tear up the paths, making them impassible for mountain bikers.

Open access land does have some downfalls. Gold miners in the 1800s and early 1900s didn’t mark their test pits, and some of those pits still exist. Though the BLM tries to find and fill these hazards, some may still be out there.

On Limited access lands, OHV riders should remain on the trails and roads provided. Nearly seven million acres in the Winnemucca District fall in this category. The paths provide a way to experience the beauty of the landscape without damaging natural resources.

Closed lands are off-limits to OHV travel except with authorization from the BLM. These areas contain priority habitat and protected cultural and natural resources. Some areas pose a safety risk as well, such as closed heap leach pads.