DNR seeks input on proposed ORV changes

LANSING — In an ongoing effort to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources forest road inventory is as accurate as possible and to also encourage continued public input on the management of state forest roads, the DNR has proposed some changes to ORV use on state forest roads in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

The Michigan DNR is in the final stages of a comprehensive inventory and mapping process that will help the department finalize rules to govern ORV use on state forest roads.

The Michigan DNR is in the final stages of a comprehensive inventory and mapping process that will help the department finalize rules to govern ORV use on state forest roads.

The proposed changes include:

• Adding roads that previously were unmapped.

• Deleting mapped roads that no longer exist.

• Closing roads to conventional vehicle use (including ORVs); closing roads only to ORV use, and opening roads to ORV use.

The public can view specific locations of proposed changes by using the interactive web map or by viewing printable maps available at michigan.gov/forestroads.

Overall, the proposed changes include an increase of 26 miles of total state forest roads in the northern Lower Peninsula to bring the total mileage up to 7,578 miles. The proposed revisions also include a total of 6,339.5 miles of those roads being open to ORV use, which is up 31.5 miles over the 6,308 miles that are currently open. These changes are the result of more accurate reviews being completed on the ground by DNR staff as part of forest inventory efforts, as well as an in-depth review of public comments that were submitted prior to the Aug. 31, 2018, deadline.

Public input on these newly proposed changes will be accepted via email and online until Dec. 7. Send emails to DNR-RoadInventoryProject@michigan.gov or comment via the online map at michigan.gov/forestroads. Instructions are available on the website.

Public comment also will be accepted at the January meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, where the state forest road proposals will be before the DNR director for information, and at the February commission meeting, when the DNR director is expected to decide. New maps showing state forest roads and whether they are open or closed to ORV use will be published by April 1, 2019.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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