Minnesota Department of Natural Resources seeks public comment on Motor Vehicle Use Plan
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on motor vehicle use plans for six (6) state forests in east-central Minnesota. A copy of the news release is included below.
Please take a couple of minutes to check it out and please pass this information along.
DNR Seeks Public Comment on Revised ORV Management Plan
DNR seeks comments on motor vehicle use plan for forest lands in East Central Minnesota (July 22, 2008)
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public comment on its forest classification and motor vehicle route designation proposal for six state forests in an eight-county planning area in east-central Minnesota. The east-central forests include Land O'Lakes in Cass/Crow Wing counties; Hill River, Savanna, and Waukenabo in Aitkin County; Snake River in Kanabec County; and DAR in Pine County. The proposal also designates roads and trails on scattered DNR lands in Anoka, Aitkin, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, southern Cass, and Washington Counties.
Under state law, the DNR is required to complete a classification review for all 58 of Minnesota's state forests by December 2008. Planning for the east-central forests began July 2007. Five public open houses were held in the fall. A team of DNR resource specialists conducted the review, working closely with Aitkin and Cass counties in developing recommendations. Preliminary planning is complete and ready for public comment.
ROAD AND TRAIL DESIGNATIONS
The draft plan makes recommendations for about 1,000 miles of roads, trails and other routes on roughly 363,000 acres of state forest lands in east-central Minnesota. The proposal, which includes some route closures, will ultimately determine where motorized vehicles, including cars, trucks, and off-highway vehicles (OHV's) will be allowed to operate on state lands in the county. In addition, Aitkin and Cass counties are making county land route recommendations for motor vehicle use on about 220 miles in Aitkin County and 400 miles in Cass County.
The motor vehicle use classification provides the framework for managing motor vehicle use on Minnesota DNR lands, forest roads and trails. Minnesota's three classifications are managed, limited and closed. Right now, all state forest lands in the east-central forests are classified as managed, except for the Snake River State Forest, which is limited. Under state law, the managed classification is no longer available south of Highway 2. Thus, the proposal reclassifies all state and county forest lands as either limited or closed.
On limited forest lands, trails are closed to motor vehicle use unless posted as open, while forest roads are open to both highway-licensed vehicles and OHV's. On closed forest lands, trails are closed to motor vehicles and only highway-licensed vehicles may operate on forest roads.
State Forests Motor Vehicle Use Classification
Scattered State Forest Lands Motor Vehicle Use Classification
AREAS OF LIMITATIONS
The draft plan recommends that several sites (approximately 58,127 acres) receive special protections from vehicular use. There are two sites in Aitkin County (10,603 acres), 12 sites in Cass County (44,995 acres), and two sites in Kanabec County (2,529 acres).
These "areas with limitations" sites have unique or sensitive resources or have existing non-motorized uses. The proposal would prohibit OHV use on DNR or county forest lands within these areas year-round, including by hunters and trappers. The use of non-designated routes by highway licensed vehicles and OHV's for hunting and trapping purposes would still be permitted on the balance of forest lands within the planning unit, except on lands classified as closed.
PUBLIC REVIEW MEETINGS
The DNR will hold three public meetings on this proposal:
Meetings will run from 6-8:30 pm. The first hour will allow people informally review the plan, maps and other materials. The DNR and county officials will be on hand to answer questions. During the remainder of the meeting, DNR will present its proposal, respond to questions, and accept oral and written comments. The DNR east-central state forest classification and route designation proposals are available online at www.mndnr.gov or at www.findthetrails.com.
Written comment, questions or requests for copies of the planning documents should be directed to Brian McCann, DNR Trails and Waterways, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4052; email@example.com; or by calling 651-259-5627 or toll free at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367). Written comments on this proposal will be accepted until 4:30 pm on Friday October 3.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Action Alert
The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF) in northern Wisconsin is proposing changes to their motorized travel system and is requesting comments on their Travel Management Project Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA is available for public review during the 30 day comment period, which began July 18, 2008.
The EA documents the analysis of three alternatives involving site-specific designations regarding motorized vehicle use within the boundaries of the Forest. Vehicle classes allowed include All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's) and highway licensed vehicles. Motorcycles are included in the definition of ATV's.
The outcome of the CNNF Travel Management Project will be a designated system of roads and trails available for public motorized vehicle use in the Forest. The purpose of this project is only to determine (desiggnsate) which roads and trails will be included on the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM).
COMMENTS CONCERNING THIS ACTION WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL AUGUST 18, 2008
Comments received during the 30-day comment period will be considered by the Forest Supervisor prior to making a final; decision this fall. Implementation will occur in January 2009 with the publication of the MVUM. The MVUM, showing the designated system, will be available at District Offices free of charge.
A copy of the Environmental Assessment and maps of alternatives are available at the following link:
For more information about the project, call Joan Marburger, Project Leader at 715-762-5178
HOW TO COMMENT:
INDIVIDUALS ACCEPTING COMMENTS