MICHIGAN – DNR Encourages Public Input on ORV Rules for Upper Peninsula State Forest Roads

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https://sharetrails.org/alert/michigan-dnr-encourages-public-input-on-orv-rules-for-upper-peninsula-state-forest-roads/

Starting Tuesday, May 1, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites the public to share their opinions on a forest road inventory of the Upper Peninsula and the classifying of these roads as open or closed to off-road vehicles. Forest roads in the U.P. will remain open to ORV use during the classification period, and any changes will take effect in January 2019, as required by Public Act 288 of 2016.

The department has devoted the past several months to thoroughly mapping the region’s state forest roads. These roads, managed by the DNR, provide access for activities such as habitat improvement, timber management and fire control. They also offer public access for hunting, fishing, hiking and outdoor recreation. Historically in the Upper Peninsula, these roads have been open to ORV use.

PA 288 encourages more people to enjoy Michigan’s public lands by enhancing ORV opportunities in the northern Lower Peninsula and southern Lower Peninsula. The law also requires that state forest roads in the Upper Peninsula be inventoried and legally designated as open or closed to ORV use. It is anticipated that ORV use will continue to be permitted on most state forest roads in the U.P. However, in order to prevent user conflicts and protect environmentally sensitive areas, the DNR may designate some roads as closed.

Beginning May 1, proposed forest road classifications can be viewed online at www.michigan.gov/forestroads. Comments on specific road segments also can be made directly on this web map. Instructions are available on the website.

Residents can attend any of the following meetings to review the proposed classifications, ask questions and provide input.

• Monday, May 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Houghton
Ballroom, Memorial Union at Michigan Technological University, 1503 Townsend Drive

• Tuesday, May 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Marquette
Marquette Township Community Center, 1000 Commerce Drive

• Wednesday, May 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m. CST – Iron Mountain
Fornetti Hall, Bay College West Campus, 2801 U.S. 2

• Thursday, May 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Newberry
McMillan Township Hall, 405 Newberry Ave.

Comments also will be accepted via email to DNR-RoadInventoryProject@michigan.gov or by mail to ATTN: DNR Roads Inventory Project, 1990 U.S. 41 South, Marquette, MI 49855. The initial comment period will close June 15, 2018.

“Michigan offers countless opportunities for outdoor adventures through the availability and diversity of its public lands,” said Bill O’Neill, DNR natural resources deputy. “Ensuring that forest roads are open to ORV enthusiasts lets people take full advantage of these recreational experiences. With the public’s input, we will determine which areas lend themselves to this type of use and which ones need protection. The result will be a well-thought-out, balanced approach that protects natural resources while encouraging use and enjoyment of those resources.”

For more information about the state forest road inventory and recommendation process, visit www.michigan.gov/forestroads. For more information about trails in Michigan and to sign up for trail email updates, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext. 2
 
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