DNR to host meetings on ORV access to forest roads in UP

May 16 session at Bay West in IM

MARQUETTE – In order to keep the public informed about a statewide effort to inventory and classify state forest roads in the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will host a series of meetings during the week of May 14.

The meetings will give residents the opportunity to share their opinions on the forest road inventory and the proposed classification of roads as either 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.

Residents can attend any of the following meetings:

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

— Tuesday, May 15, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, Marquette Township Community Center, 1000 Commerce Drive, Marquette.

— Wednesday, May 16, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Central time, Fornetti Hall, Bay College West Campus, 2801 U.S. 2, Iron Mountain.

— Thursday, May 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, McMillan Township Hall, 405 Newberry Ave., Newberry

The DNR 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 other outdoor recreation uses.

These roads in the Upper Peninsula historically have been open 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.

“These public meetings are the perfect opportunity for area residents to have a voice in decisions that could affect the use of state forest roads,” said Bill O’Neill, DNR natural resources deputy director. “Public input is crucial to this process, so we’re hoping to hear from people both in person and online.”

The public meetings will include an overview of Public Act 288 and the inventory and classification process, as well as the opportunity to review DNR staff recommendations, speak directly to staff, and provide input to the DNR.

Proposed forest road classifications now can be viewed online at michigan.gov/forestroads. Comments on specific road segments also can be made directly on this web map. Instructions are available on the website.

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.

For more information about the state forest road inventory and recommendation process, visit michigan.gov/forestroads.

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