The welcome to Garfield County sign on County Road 108 near Carbondale, Colorado.

GCSO: Traffic laws are applicable on all county roads

press release
December 6, 2023

Traffic laws are applicable on all designated county roads regardless of whether or not that road passes through personal property or public property including any area where a “Travel Management Plan” is in place, managed by the U.S. Forest Service or other entity. Such “managed” areas are generally more remote and may not get the full attention of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office deputies at all times but they do fall under their jurisdiction.

Garfield County has an ordinance that determines which county roads off-highway vehicles (OHVs) can and cannot travel. The U.S. Forest Service or other such entities, generally post signage as to whether or not OHV’s can operate on a particular roadway.

The driving and operation of a motor vehicle on any public road requires that the operator be safe and follow the law. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle, including OHVs, on a public road while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The fines and punishments can be the same as operating a motorized vehicle on any public road.

There are many sections of county roads in Garfield County that fall under theses constraints. Due to staffing, and the need to respond to more urgent calls for enforcement on more highly traveled roadways, our deputies cannot always give the attention we would like to give to these more remote areas.

One particular area of concern for the sheriff’s office is County Road 245 from New Castle to the Rio Blanco County line. There have been several infractions on the section of 245 above the “cattle guard” on to the Rio Blanco County line. Here both county ordinance and the U.S. Forest Service Travel Management Plan prohibit OHV use!

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario has requested the Forest Service and Garfield County Road and Bridge put up an adequate number of speed limit signs and “NO OHVs” are allowed on the roadway so residents and users are more aware of these restrictions. He will also be using directed patrols in these and other areas to assure compliance with our traffic laws on all county roads in Garfield County.

As always, public safety remains the major focus of the sheriff’s office. Please help us to assure the safety of everyone. Obey the laws and act responsibly.