Final recommendations for ORV use on state forest roads for northern lower Michigan available for public review

Contact: Scott Whitcomb, 989-983-4101 or Kerry Wieber, 517-643-1256
Agency: Natural Resources

Director to take action at Dec. 14 NRC meeting

After incorporating public input received during two separate comment periods, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has completed final recommendations to open thousands of miles of state forest roads to off-road vehicles in the northern Lower Peninsula.

DNR Director Keith Creagh will take action on the recommendations at the Dec. 14 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing. The expanded access, if approved by the director, will take effect Jan. 1, 2018, as required by Public Act 288 of 2016.

The final recommendations can be viewed in advance of the NRC meeting at www.michigan.gov/forestroads. In-person comments will be accepted at the NRC meeting prior to the director taking action.

“As we prepare to open some state forest roads in the northern Lower Peninsula to ORV use, public input has been critical to ensuring that we make the best possible decisions for all users of state-managed lands,” said Bill O’Neill, DNR natural resources deputy. “The overwhelming response from the public throughout this process demonstrates the level of interest and engagement from all varieties of outdoor recreationists.”

Public input opportunities included two 45-day comment periods on initial and final staff recommendations, in-person comments at NRC meetings, mail, email, and an online map developed specifically to accept comments. Nearly 2,000 comments were received by the DNR throughout the process.

PA 288 encourages more people to enjoy Michigan’s public lands by enhancing ORV opportunities in the northern Lower Peninsula. Beginning in 2018, all state forest roads in the region will be open to ORV use unless designated closed by the DNR. Reasons for closures include ensuring user safety, preventing user conflicts and protecting environmentally sensitive areas.

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.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.