This section applies to the operation of off-road recreational vehicles (ORV) on Fort Wainwright and Donnelly Training Area controlled lands.  ORV and motorized watercraft regulations apply to all persons, civilian and military, operating ORVs and motorized watercraft on US Army Garrison Fort Wainwright (USAG FWA) lands.  All ORVs and motorized watercraft will be operated in compliance with State of Alaska laws addressing registration, safety equipment and pollution. The regulations contained in this supplement are not quoted verbatim from Army Regulations.  They have been formatted for your convenience.

Off-limits/Closed Areas for ORVs/Watercraft are the same. Seasonal restrictions may also apply. 

1.  Off-Road Recreational Vehicles (ORV) Defined

ORV vehicles are defined as motorized vehicles primarily designated for operation over hard surfaces including frozen lakes and rivers.  They include snowmobiles, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, swamp-buggies, civilian use small unit support vehicles, and four-wheel drive vehicles.

ORVs are further defined into two classifications, those with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 1500 lbs. or less, and those over 1500 lbs.


2.  Motorized Watercraft Defined

Motorized watercraft is defined as watercraft propelled by machinery.  This includes any vessel temporarily or permanently equipped with a motor (e.g. riverboats, airboats, hydrofoils, personal watercraft).  


3.  Off-Road Recreational Vehicle (ORV) and Motorized Watercraft Areas

All land and water areas will be closed to off-road recreational use by motorized off-road recreational vehicles except those areas and trails, which are determined suitable and specifically designated for ORV use as established by the USAG FWA Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan.

  • USAG FWA is managed for a number of different types of recreational use.
  • All areas that are determined open for recreational use may be closed temporarily during periods of military use.
  • All users must check in daily through USARTRAK to determine if areas are open to recreational use.


USAG FWA uses the following classification system to describe recreational areas on installation lands.

Open Use Area: Open to all types of off-road recreational vehicles.  Open to all other recreational activities year-round.

  • Frozen (6+ inches of snow cover): No restrictions for any off-road recreational vehicles when soil is frozen.

  • Unfrozen summer conditions: During unfrozen conditions, off-road recreational vehicles over 1500 lbs (road vehicles, dune buggies, Argos, small unit support vehicles etc) must stay on existing roads and trails.  No restrictions for off-road recreational vehicles under 1500 lbs (all terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, etc.).  Motorized watercraft must stay within existing open water channels.

Modified Use Area:  Open to all types of off-road recreational vehicles.  No restrictions for any off-road recreational vehicles when soil is frozen.  All off-road recreational vehicles must stay on existing roads and trails during summer months.  Motorized watercraft must stay with existing open water channels.  Open to all other recreational activities year-round.

Limited Use Area: Open to all non-motorized recreational (hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, skiing, and berry-picking) year-round but are not open to any type of off-road recreational vehicle at any time.  Motorized watercraft must stay within existing open water channels.

Closed Area: Closed to all recreational activities year-round.


Off –Road Vehicle (ORV) Registration:

  • ORVs must be registered with the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles per Alaska AS28.39.010.
  • Personnel living on post must register their ORVs with the Provost Marshall Office within 7 days of initial entry onto the installation.  A decal is issued and must be displayed on the ORV in a conspicuous location.
  • Military personnel and their dependents who wish to operate an ORV on Fort Wainwright must complete an ORV safety class.  ORV Safety Classes are conducted at the Outdoor Recreation Center.  The class consists of a 30-minute video on the safe operation of ORVs.  After viewing the video the operator will be issued an ORV Operators Permit.  The permit must be carried with the operator while operating an ORV on Fort Wainwright.
  • The ORV owner will conduct an inspection of their ORV before operation on the installation.  As a minimum operators will inspect and ensure the functionality of the following:
  1. Brakes
  2. Headlights
  3. Taillights
  4. Muffler-complete factory-installed exhaust or its equivalent in good working order, an ORV may not have a muffler cutout, or create excessive noise or pollutants
  5. Throttle (must return to idle after release)
  6. Serviceability of all factory-installed equipment


4.  Safety:

  • The speed limit is 25 miles per hour, or lower if posted
  • 3-wheel ORVs are not allowed to be used on USAG FWA lands.
  • Passengers on ORVs are authorized if the ORV is equipped with a factory-mounted seat.
  • ORV operators and passengers are required to wear a DOT, ANSI, or Shell Memorial Foundation certified helmet, impact or shatter resistant goggles or full face shield properly attached to the helmet, sturdy leather boots or over the ankle shoes, full-fingered gloves, long trousers, long-sleeved shirt of jacket.  A high visibility brightly colored out upper garment during the day and retro-reflective for night.
  • ORV operators may carry loaded weapons with restrictions.
  • ORVs will not be operated by anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • ORVs may tow commercial or homemade carts.  Towing of disabled ORV with another ORV is authorized.  Towing persons by rope or cable is prohibited.
  • All ORVs will have headlights turned on while in operation.
  • No person under the age of 16 years will operate an ORV unless under the direct and visual supervision of their parent(s) or an adult 21 years of age or older.
  • ORVs can use the established FWA Small Arms Range recreational bypass route when the FWA Small Arms Range is being used by the military.
  • ORV operators must check into the area they intend to use by calling the USARTRAK check-in system.


5.  Liability:

  • The United States shall not be liable for any damage or injury to either, equipment, persons, or property resulting from the use of or participation in ORV activity on a United States Army Installation.  It is understood by owners and operators of ORVs that both natural and man-made hazards do exist in the designated ORV use areas and that anyone who engages in this activity does so completely at their own risks.
  • ORV owners and operators are financially liable for any damage to government or private property resulting from their activity.
  • Insurance is not required; however insurance is highly recommended.


6.  Violations and Revocation of Privileges:

  • Operators and owners who habitually abuse ORV privileges may be denied further ORV/ recreation privileges on the installation.
  • Military personnel who violate the ORV provisions of this regulation can be cited under Article 92 of the UCMJ.  Civilian violators may be cited and referred to the United States Magistrate for prosecution or loose their privileges to recreate on military training lands.


7.  Motorized Watercraft/Boats:

  • Travel through an off-limits/closed area is prohibited.
  • All occupants of watercraft must wear a US Coast Guard approved flotation device.
  • All watercraft must be registered with the State of Alaska, and bear in plain sight on the bow the Alaska state registration numbers.  Operators of watercraft must have in their possession a valid boat registration card for the craft they are operating.
  • All watercraft operators are responsible to ensure the watercraft they are operating meet all US Coast Guard requirements (type and size requirements vary with vessel size)


 Tanana Flats Training Areas 202, 203, and 204 Motorized Watercraft Restrictions.

The Tanana Flats Training Areas 202 and 203 are bordered by the area between the Salchaket Slough, Bonnifield Trail, Willow Creek, and the Tanana River. This area is divided into the upper fen (TA 203) and lower fen (TA 202).  

  • Training Areas 202, 203 and 204 are closed to all ORVs and watercraft between 1 May and 15 July each year.
  • Training Areas 202 and 203, access between 16 July and 15 August will be dependant upon existing water levels.
  • Training Areas 202 and 203 are open with no watercraft restrictions between 15 August and May 1 each year.
  • Training Area 204 will remain closed to all ORVs and watercraft between 1May and 30 October each year.