McCurtain County ATV Rules for the Road
The Ouachita National Forest is the only area available in the county for legal public use of off-highway vehicles. A deer hunting license is required for the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management area and Three Rivers Wildlife Management area, and is only open to ATV riding to facilitate hunting activities during deer hunting season.
Listed below are rules and regulations for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in the Ouachita National Forest, Honobia Creek and Three Rivers Wildlife Management Areas. OHVs include ATVs, 4-wheelers, 3-wheelers, utility vehicles such as mules, and motorcycles. For a more pleasant visit, please take a moment to review the following:
All USFS land/roads south of U.S. 70 are closed to ATV riding especially on the forest floor. USFS lands in Leflore county are the same as the McCurtain county unit with the exception of designated ATV roads in Leflore county.
- The speed limit on the Ouachita WMA as well as all other WMA’s is 25 MPH for all vehicles including street legal and ATV’s.
- All ATV’s including motorcycles, UTV’s etc. are required to have a USFS approved spark arrestor in working order. Loud modified exhausts are prohibited as well and could be in violation of ODWC rules for Department Managed Lands (WMA’s)
- The use or possession of alcoholic beverages or low point beer is prohibited by forest order on the Ouachita National Forest
- OHVs may be used on open unpaved National Forest roads designated as open for ATV use by the current Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) available from the US Forest Service. A road is considered closed if there is a sign, gate, or other barricade, including a dirt mound, blocking the road. Prior illegal OHV use does not imply permission to ride off the open road. So, just because someone else went around or over that dirt mound that is closing the road doesn’t mean you should do the same. You could receive a fine. You can drive on unpaved county roads but only in the National Forest – not elsewhere.
- There are places where trails have been illegally used across the forest floor – be aware these are not open roads and are not legal to use for riding.There are approximately 300 miles of open roads on the forest of which only approximately 33 miles are open to ATV’s. There are a few more miles of roads open seasonally to ATV’s as designated on the current MVUM. There are many roads on the forest that look like maintained open roads that are still closed to vehicle travel. These are generally roads that have been maintained to USFS specifications for future logging operations. Make sure it is obviously a road before using it – if you aren’t sure then call the Forest Service at 580-494-6402.
- In McCurtain County, OHV use is not permitted on the forest floor (off-road). This includes both north of McCurtain County and south of Hwy 70. There is zero use allowed on the forest floor since there are no open travel routes the forest. The regulations are subject to change, so please call the Forest Service at 580-494-6402 if you are unsure whether OHV use is permitted in a given area.
- A state law is in effect on public lands that requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding an OHV, and prohibits passengers on OHVs that were not made to carry passengers (after-market modifications do not count).
- OHVs are not allowed on trails designated solely for other uses, including hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use. Currently there are no designated OHV trails on the forest floor in Oklahoma except for the Indian Nations Trail in LeFlore County, where only motorcycles are allowed.
- Driving on powerlines, pipelines, seismic lines, fire lines, or railroad right-of-ways is prohibited.
- Driving on, or crossing, a paved road is prohibited.
- Driving in streambeds, creek beds, lake beds, or shorelines is prohibited.
- Make sure your vehicle is in good condition with an approved spark arrester.
- Use the appropriate safety gear – helmet (required if under 18), eye protection, boots, and gloves.
- Obey speed limits and be considerate of other visitors. When encountering horse riders stop and yield the right-of-way since horses may be spooked by motorized vehicles.
The reason for the rules:
Heavy or irresponsible OHV use can wreak havoc on the environment. Miles of unplanned trails from heavy OHV use on the forest floor can damage watersheds, destroy habitats, kill native plant and animal species, and pollute streams and rivers.
To help preserve these resources and the continued opportunities for you to enjoy using your vehicle on public lands, we ask that you observe the guidelines listed above and report violations.
Riding in closed areas can result in a fine of up to $300, 6 months in jail or both a fine and imprisonment.
For more information, please call the Forest Service at 580-494-6402.
Effective August 1, 2008, all OHV riding on the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area and Honobia Creek WMA is prohibited except by licensed deer hunters during the period of Oct. 1 – Jan. 15. All OHV riders must wear a fluorescent orange chest and head covering while operating an OHV. If a crash helmet is worn, then only a fluorescent orange chest covering is required. Consult the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for additional restrictions.