How to Get a Trust Land Permit for Biking?

Before we answer the question where to get the permit, we have to define what a trust land is and isn’t. A trust land refers to tracts of land that the state manages and conserves on behalf the trust beneficiaries.


Apply for a Biking Permit

There are many states in the US that manage these trust lands, to be specific the state land department or similar agency. The state land department is the only entity authorized for permit application be it for biking, camping or other activities.

Whether it is Arizona, Washington, New Mexico or another state, it is this agency or its equivalent you have to contact. Applying for a permit to bike or any other recreational activity is not difficult.

You visit their official website, get the contact information and request for a permit. When you apply you have to state what kind of activity you will do and how many are going with you.

There is a fee to be paid to get a permit, but it’s not a lot (usually around 20 bucks for a year for an individual). Once you’ve got the permit you can bike to your heart’s content as long as you follow the rules

The terms and conditions are provided on the state website but you will get a copy of that too when you apply.

bike resister

You can only bike on the land for as long as the permit is valid. Once it has expired, you have to apply again if you want to go on the trails again. The validity of the permit also rests on your compliance with the laws. As long as you don’t violate the laws you can bike in peace.

The question you’re probably asking is what kind of rules are there? Each state has its own rules concerning trust land and the activities.

For instance, they may impose limits on camping, set rules for fishing and allow you to use only certain types of trails. Generally speaking, the following is expected from you:

  • You should use your bike in the designated areas. Do not go off the trail and stick to the path designated for your bicycle.
  • Do not tamper with any structures around the trail. The permit usually allows you to take photos, but don’t take any of the natural objects there.
  • Do not harm any of the wildlife in the area.
  • Follow the instructions and directives given to you by the trust land officers. If there is a law or regulation you’re not sure of, ask one of the officers and don’t guess.

Types of Permit

There are different types of permit you can apply for, but they’re usually classified into three: individual, family and group. The individual permit is just for you, while the family permit is usually for up to four people (two adults and two children).

The group permit, also known as special land use permits, is if you’re biking with a group of people (up to 19 maximum). The extent of the permits varies so make sure you follow the rules before applying.

While you’re applying for a permit you may find that some trust land areas are closed or unavailable. There are many possible reasons, but the most common are those lands are closed for safety reasons.

Other lands are not available because they have been leased to the military or used for mining, agriculture or commercial purposes.

bike inspection

You don’t have to worry about those closures however, because once you have the permit there are a lot of recreational activities you can do.

Even if you applied only for a biking license, a good number of other activities are allowed. This will vary according to the state, but these usually include:

  • Camping (a single permit allows you to camp for up to two weeks per year).
  • Picnic with friends or family (subject to the number restriction mentioned).
  • Sightseeing.
  • Taking pictures of the wildlife and the landscape.
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    Use of motorized vehicles in designated areas (there are roads which have been marked for this purpose).
checking bike

While there is a lot of leeway as far as activities is concerned, there are also restrictions you have to follow. Recreational flying is usually not allowed as is target shooting. There are also strict rules forbidding anyone from visiting archaeological sites and picking up any sort of artifact.

To summarize, you go to the land agency to get a permit. Once you’ve got the permit you can bike or engage in other recreational activities with your companions (if you applied for group or family permits).

Because the rules depend on which state you are applying for, you should get specific information about that location

Keep in Mind

Here are a few matters that you will want to keep in mind:

  • Get an updated map of the trust land you want to visit. This will save you a lot of trouble when it comes to figuring where your bike can go.
  • Make sure your bike is equipped for the trail. While trust lands are classified differently from public lands, that doesn’t change the fact there are still trails, and you’ll need a good bike.
  • Only the authorized trust land department can provide the license / permission to use motorized vehicles on trust land. Even if you have a license from your state’s transportation department, that does not mean you can use it in trust lands.
  • You cannot get a trust land permit from national parks, as only the trust land agency provides the permit.
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    Some of these trust lands allow hunting. However there are limits and you can only hunt specific types of wildlife. The same rule applies to fishing as well.

Final Words

There is no lacking of roads you can explore on your bike in the US, but there’s no question that among the best are those in trust lands.

If you have never been to these, the regulations may seem overwhelming, but applying is really easy and as long as you follow the rules you’ll have the time of your life.

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