CHAPTER 67DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF RECREATION TRAILSON STATE FORESTS, PARKS, PRESERVES AND RECREATION AREAS571—67.1(456A, 461A)  Applicability.  This chapter is applicable to all state-owned parks, recreation areas, forests and preserves under the jurisdiction of the department of natural resources, except those areas under management by a local government entity.571—67.2(456A, 461A)  Definitions.  
"All-terrain vehicle" means a motorized flotation-tire vehicle with not less than three low-pressure tires, but not more than six low-pressure tires, or a two-wheeled off-road motorcycle, that is limited in engine displacement to less than 800 cubic centimeters and in total dry weight to less than 850 pounds and that has a seat or saddle designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control and any other vehicle registered under Iowa Code chapter 321I.
"Area" means any park, recreation area, forest, or preserve under the jurisdiction of the department of natural resources.
"Department" means the department of natural resources (DNR).
"Director" means the director of the department of natural resources or designee.
"Division administrator" means the division administrator of the DNR division responsible for managing the area in question.
"Equestrian" means a horserider or a person who is horseback riding.
"Equestrian hunting permit, which may include an annual permit, application" means an application by a hunter wishing to ride off trail to hunt in an area. This application shall include the dates and area and provide a contact number in case of conflicts or questions. Applications will be evaluated for potential user conflicts and the potential for the need to obtain a special event permit pursuant to 571—subrule 61.7(16).
"Horse" means any equine animal, including horses, mules, burros, donkeys, and all llamas or alpacalike animals.
"Snowmobile" means a motorized vehicle weighing less than 1,000 pounds which uses sled-type runners or skis, endless belt-type tread, or any combination of runners, skis, or tread, and is designed for travel on snow or ice and any vehicle registered under Iowa Code chapter 321G.
571—67.3(456A, 461A)  Purpose.  The purpose of this chapter is to establish guidelines for developing and properly managing the use of recreation trails on state parks, recreation areas, forests and preserves.571—67.4(456A, 461A)  Establishment of trails.  Establishment and designation of recreation trails shall not be undertaken until after a plan showing the basic design, location and designated use for any such trail has been prepared. The director shall approve all trail plans for areas, and trails shall follow only those routes designated on the plan.571—67.5(456A, 461A)  Designation of recreation trails.  All trails shall be designated by the department. Designation shall include an assignment of the use or uses for which each trail is intended. Uses shall be classified as follows: foot traffic, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, bicycling and multiple-use trails. The intended uses of trails shall be described on signs at appropriate locations within the area, in informational brochures about the area, or on posted notice at the area’s headquarters.571—67.6(456A, 461A)  Guidelines for trail location.  No new trail shall be designated or constructed:
  1. On any slope where erosion will occur unless measures are taken to permanently control erosion. The measures may include, but not be limited to: water bars, steps, vegetative or crushed stone surfacing and terraces;
  2. Through rare or sensitive plant communities, except for trails intended for interpretive purposes and designed for foot traffic only;
  3. In locations where wildlife management practices are being carried out that would be negatively affected by trail activity;
  4. To pass over archaeological sites or adversely affect known archaeological sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or known sites not yet evaluated;
  5. Where past trail use has resulted in erosion or other environmental damage that would be exacerbated by continued trail use;
  6. So as to allow travel through a river, stream or wetland or waterway except at designated crossings.
571—67.7(456A, 461A)  Control of trail use.    67.7(1)  Use of trails may be temporarily limited or suspended by the area manager when use or any natural event has created conditions that will cause the trail to degrade if further use is allowed. Guidelines may include, but are not limited to, the following considerations:  a.  Precipitation events (e.g., rain, thaws, or flooding that, based on the soils and topography, would present a problem for resource protection or public safety if the trail were to remain open).  b.  Special events (e.g., events that are large, involve concessionaires, or would otherwise require a special event permit as described in 571—subrule 61.7(16) and would interfere with the safety or enjoyment of other trail users).  c.  Ecosystem management activities (e.g., scheduled harvests, timber stand improvement, planting, or controlled burns that would temporarily disrupt trail use).  d.  Trail construction or repair.  e.  Off-trail use (e.g., vehicle or animal use that has created damage off the actual trail which affects the trail and needs to be corrected).  f.  Conflicts between trail users.  g.  Trail damage/erosion (e.g., overuse, use at the wrong time, or unauthorized vehicle use).  67.7(2)  The area manager shall limit or suspend use of a trail by posting signs at appropriate trailheads and by posting notices in conspicuous locations within the area.  67.7(3)  Upon suspension or limitation of trail use, the area manager shall take prompt and reasonable steps to correct the conditions that led to suspension or limitation. When, in the area manager’s judgment, such conditions have been corrected, normal use of the trail may resume.  67.7(4)  No trail shall be permanently closed to public use without approval of the director. Recommendations for permanent closure shall be made to the division administrator by the area manager. The division administrator shall prepare a report documenting reasons for closure and provide the report and recommendation to the director. At the request of six or more persons, the director shall direct that a public informational meeting be held in the vicinity of the area to inform the public of the planned closure and to receive public comments. A summary of the public comments made at the meeting shall be presented to the natural resource commission for review. The commission may uphold or reverse the director’s decision and shall consider both public comments and staff recommendations before taking action.571—67.8(456A, 461A)  Use of designated trails.    67.8(1)  Bicyclists, equestrians and snowmobile operators shall use only trails officially designated and properly signed for such uses.  67.8(2)  Unless otherwise prohibited by law, the use of motorized all-terrain vehicles shall be limited to roadways on all areas except as necessary to carry on authorized activities such as area management, agricultural activity, search and rescue operations and special events authorized by the department.  67.8(3)  An area manager may approve off-trail riding by issuing an equestrian hunting permit. Any person or group wishing to request off-trail riding under a special use permit must comply with the following:  a.  The sponsor shall submit an application to the area manager where the proposed event is to take place. Application forms shall be furnished by DNR. Submission of an application does not guarantee issuance of a permit.  b.  The sponsor shall contact the area manager for current trail conditions prior to the equestrian hunting event. Trail closure policies apply to equestrian hunting permits.These rules are intended to implement Iowa Code sections 455A.5, 456A.24 and 461A.35.