November 23, 2017

ORV Trail public hearing scheduled by DNR

Posted

OGEMAW COUNTY –– Several public hearings will be held by the Department of Natural Resources to discuss which forest roads and trails will be marked for off road vehicle use.

Roscommon Unit Manager Steve Anderson said the planning will take time but that the DNR is interested in hearing from the public.

“This is a Road Access Plan is the result of Legislative Act 288,” Anderson said. “That act required the DNR to do an inventory of the forest access on state forest lands in the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.”

The mapping must be completed in the northern Lower Peninsula by Dec. 31, 2017 and in the southern Lower Peninsula by Dec. 31, 2018, according to Anderson.

Anderson said it is unlikely that the currently marked ORV trails will be impacted at all.

“What we’re doing is looking at the access routes as to the suitability of whether they could have ORV and vehicle traffic throughout them and determining that,” he said. “It will probably open up more access for ORVs.”

Anderson said the forest roads will be opened for ORV use in the northern Lower Peninsula following the inventory and mapping, but they aren’t open yet.

The seminar will be hosted in order for the public to voice concerns about specific trails and learn more about which trails will be usable for ORV traffic. A public comment will be made available during the meeting for this purpose.

“This is an inclusive process,” Anderson said. “There will be an opportunity for folks to have their voices heard. This public input component will be crucial to the decision-making process.”

“We’re just beginning the process,” Anderson said. “We’ve had a first review by our staff of what trails might be accessible. There will be input taken from public interest groups and the public, which is what the meeting is about.”

He said at the end of 2017, maps will be published online to let users know which roads are open for usage and which aren’t. These maps will be updated every year.

“At this point any maps would be preliminary and subject to change so it’s an evolving thing.”

There will be three public meetings to discuss the roads. The first will be June 19 at Quality Inn Forward Conference Center in West Branch from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. The second will be June 20 at Carl T. Johnson Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The third will be June 2 at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Gaylord from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit michigan.gov/dnr.

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