Warning: Read Before Driving Resource Roads

Westie
Forest service road to Sloquet Hot Springs PHOTO: jane boles Flickr

Sometimes the roads less travelled can take you to some pretty spectacular spots. If you’re into hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or fancy yourself any kind of outdoor enthusiast, chances are you’ve braced yourself while navigating a resource road of some kind.

Resource roads (also known as logging, forest service, mineral exploration etc. roads) provide access to remote places beyond our highways. Resource roads are not built to highway standards. Like the name suggests, they were created for industrial purposes, but are often used by the public to reach recreational and backcountry areas. They also serve as crucial links for rural communities.

If you’re planning on driving a resource road, you should know about a handy little guide published by the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC). Recently updated, the Resource Road User Safety Guide explains what travellers should expect and offers tips on how to prepare for, drive, and communicate on resource roads.

As a preview, here’s a list of five things you can do to make sure you return safely from venturing beyond the land of the marked highways.

  1. Gear up!: We often use resource roads to escape civilization for a time. Naturally, this means travelling beyond proximity of hospitals, gas stations, restaurants and cell coverage. It’s up to you to be prepared – and that means gearing up with supplies and emergency items outlined in the guide.
  2. Road rules still apply: We may be seeking a respite from civilization, but that doesn’t mean we should become uncivilized. Behave the same way you would on a highway – drive to road conditions at safe speeds, stop only in safe, visible locations, and keep your headlights and taillights on. These are just a few road rules to keep in mind. Read the guide for more.
  3. Watch for wildlife: Hey, you’re in the wild after all. Wildlife can pop out unexpectedly and sometimes act unpredictably. Just ask the police officer who tried to move moose at a Prince George intersection.
  4. Monitor traffic, if possible: Resource roads can be narrow, potholed and rough, and overgrown roadside brush can limit visibility. Industrial drivers use two-way radios on specific channels to announce their approach and let others know to clear the way. If you have a two-way radio, it’s a good idea to tune in to the specific frequency, which is sometimes posted roadside.
  5. Yield to industrial traffic: These large vehicles have a job to do, and they can’t manoeuvre as swiftly as passenger vehicles. Give them some space.

Will a resource road connect you to your long weekend destination? If so, where are you headed?

Mountain road
Lillooet Forest Service Road to Mt. Meager PHOTO: adina*raul

Page 1 of 22 comments on “Warning: Read Before Driving Resource Roads”

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  1. What time of the day to login trucks begin working on road to Cape Scott on Vancouver Island? Is it possible to drive the road in the early morning (before 9 am) and avoid all logging traffic? Also, are the the logging trucks active on that road on Saturday or Sundays?

    Reply
  2. Do logging trucks have to let you pass if there speed is delaying your speed, and they realize your there but don’t allow safe passing because they say I’m safer behind them in a cloud of dust blind because they have radios? I have channel two radios but can’t get there channel.
    dog walkers,cyclists, tree planters, wildlife, motorist, campers, these are just a few people who traverse our rural roads in Rossland Bc old cascade highway without radios, how is this safe? Should I just pull over and wait for them to get ahead that’s usually what I do but I’m tired of my children being late for school I’m 24km from Rossland and today I was 20mins late because on our 24km road I had to stay behind for 16km of following a logging truck that had lots of opportunities to pull over. What do I do?

    Reply
    • Hi there Dyllan – thanks for connecting with us here. Because resource roads were created for industrial use and logging trucks and other vehicles can be very large and hard to maneuver, you are required to yield to industrial traffic on resource roads. You might want to identify yourself via radio or otherwise to the company logging in the area to let them know you regularly use the road to take your children to school. They might provide you with information or radio information, so that you can hear what’s coming down the road. Here is a link to the Resource Roads Safety Guide for more information. https://www2.bcforestsafe.org/files/tk_pdfs/gde_resrd.pdf
      We hope this is helpful.

      Reply
    • Hi Jamie – thanks for connecting with us here. The decision to back up might need to be made on a case by case basis. The resource guide link in this blog outlines some protocols to follow, when driving resource roads. If you would like further information or clarification, we encourage you to follow up directly with the Forest Safety Council of BC. https://www2.bcforestsafe.org/files/tk_pdfs/gde_resrd.pdf

      Yield to industrial traffic. Large industrial vehicles can’t manoeuvre as quickly as passenger vehicles – give these vehicles room so workers can safely do their job. As a cautionary approach, follow industrial vehicles at a safe distance – watch them, slow down and pull over if they do.

      Reply
  3. Great info here but I’d like to understand road naming conventions? R16473 3920 00 0 ?
    There must be some relationship to Kms?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Great question Rob! Unfortunately, we aren’t sure on that either. We suggest you connect with Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations on that one. Thanks!

      Reply
  4. One thing that must be said in this forum that hasn’t been mentioned other than the line “Behave the same way you would on a highway…”.

    Cracking a beer at the first sound of gravel hitting the wheel wells is a Neanderthal ritual that has no place out there today.

    It’s amazing how many hunters seem to think that they can drink till they’re legless just because they’re idling along an old trail looking for Bambi.

    The biggest danger on RRs is not from a lumbering loaded logging truck. It’s the service trucks, the contractor trucks and crews either heading into work or home from it. They drive the roads everyday and know every curve, pothole and hollow. They’re doing a million miles an hour with their hair on fire, eyes on the road and ears on the radio. Pulling out onto the road from the bush, pickled in Pilsner goes on waaaay too much and does nobody any good.

    Save the brewskis for camp.

    Reply
  5. If you make a habit of driving Resource Roads, do everyone a favour and buy a VHF radio with the 35 Resource Road frequencies and 5 LAD channels programmed in.

    In the bad old days, every logging company and every backroad had a posted frequency. Technically, only licenced technician could legally program a radio. Many of us who work out there knew how to program our radios if the frequency was not already in it. The “new” RR system is waaaaay better.

    A handheld VHF can cost as low as $250. A vehicle mounted model with antenna is about $700. Any radio shop can program it for about $40. Not only can you communicate with the industrial traffic, it is another source of communication in places without cell coverage. Those who work in the bush can be your instant best friend if you suffer a breakdown. LAD1 is used by highway truckers and is as informative as it is entertaining on the highway at times. Say Hi to Jamie Davis.

    Radios are licenced through Industry Canada for about $40/year. No training or other certification is needed for VHF…but it ain’t the 10-4 Good Buddy CB you might be thinking of. You state your kilometres from the posted sign, direction (Up/Down), road name and often type of vehicle (Ex: 23 Up Jackpine, pickup…pickup is a generic term for “not a big vehicle coming”). There is no chatter on RR frequencies.

    If you don’t have a radio. Stick to the right as much as possible. Don’t worry too much. The first radio equipped truck will call you position and direction with a “pickup, no radio” comment. We’ll know roughly where you are. Getting spotted first is the tricky part.

    Reply
  6. I would like to start travelling on our resource roads. From what I have read, I am aware that many are radio assist roads. However, as a private citizen is it a requirement for us to have a radio.? Assuming it is not required but suggested, where do I find out more about licencing and or other requirements. ?

    Reply
  7. Hi, I am wondering if ORV’s have to yleid to larger vehicles (trucks and cars) on a single lane FSR road, and where I can access the specific legislation that outlines this?
    Thanks, leigh herbert

    Reply
    • Hi Leigh,

      The Resource Road User Guide, produced by BC Forest Safety and the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations — http://www.bcforestsafe.org/files/tk_pdfs/gde_resrd.pdf — says:

      “Yield to industrial traffic. Large industrial vehicles can’t manoeuvre as quickly as passenger vehicles – give these vehicles room so workers can safely do their job. As a cautionary approach, follow industrial vehicles at a safe distance – watch them, slow down and pull over if they do.

      Watch out for off road vehicles (ORV’s) ie. ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc. Be prepared for them to be around any corner. All ORV operators must follow the rules of the road including watching for and yielding to other traffic.”

      Should you require further information, you could contact the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations office at 1-800-663-7867, or the BC Forest Safety Council at 1-877-741-1060.

      Reply
  8. Hi,
    I am wondering if ORV’s are required to yield to larger vehicles (trucks, cars) on a single lane FSR road, and where I can find the specific legislation that outlines these rules?

    Sincerely,
    Leigh Herbert

    Reply
    • Hi Leigh,

      The Resource Road User Guide, produced by BC Forest Safety and the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations — http://www.bcforestsafe.org/files/tk_pdfs/gde_resrd.pdf — says:

      “Yield to industrial traffic. Large industrial vehicles can’t manoeuvre as quickly as passenger vehicles – give these vehicles room so workers can safely do their job. As a cautionary approach, follow industrial vehicles at a safe distance – watch them, slow down and pull over if they do.

      Watch out for off road vehicles (ORV’s) ie. ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc. Be prepared for them to be around any corner. All ORV operators must follow the rules of the road including watching for and yielding to other traffic.”

      Should you require further information, you could contact the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations office at 1-800-663-7867, or the BC Forest Safety Council at 1-877-741-1060.

      Reply
  9. Hey, I was wondering if going on the Lillooet FSR at this time of year is a good idea? I don’t have chains, only AWD. Also, is it still possible to get to the keyhole hot springs? If so, how long is the drive approximately? Thanks!

    Reply
  10. I am having difficulty finding online resource road maps. I know of various back country map books, but figure that given the quick nature of changes, that there would be an online resoruce. for this. So far, I’ve not found it.

    Reply