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National Forests changes designation for Off-Highway Vehicles

National Forests changes designation for Off-Highway Vehicles

| Devon Kessler, UpNorthLive

Reprinted from UpNorthLive, October 5, 2021

WEXFORD COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Designation of Forest Service roads within the Huron-Manistee National Forests (HMNFs) have changed.

At the beginning of October 2021, Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) were permitted for consistent use across the Forests and other public lands statewide.

With this designation change, the National Forest System (NFS) roads within the HMNFs will be open to OHV use.

HMNFs officials said the change puts the National Forests into alignment with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which has opened approximately 89% of their State Forest roadways to legal OHV use as a result of Public Act 288, enacted by the Michigan Legislature in 2016. This will also bring the HMNFs into alignment with over 75% of the 14 counties that encompass the HMNFs that have opened their local roadways to legal OHV use.

“Now we are aligned with most state and local roadways to OHV use, and confusion should be minimized by the public. Our Motorized Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) have been updated on-line and available at our Ranger District Offices in print,” says Leslie Auriemmo, Forest Supervisor - HMNFs, “By implementing this designation change, our forest visitors will no longer have to guess if they are in compliance with the law while recreating on State, County and/or National Forest System Roads.”

Based on an analysis at the beginning of the year, Forest Service officials decided that all Forest Service roads, already open to highway legal vehicles, will now be open to OHVs.

Roads connected to State or County roads that are closed to OHV use are excluded in the designation. The proposal also excludes roads on which OHV use would be deemed to pose a public safety concern.

The new Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) for the HMNFs Ranger Districts are now in print at each Ranger District Office and available online at Huron-Manistee National Forests Motor Vehicle Use Maps and have been updated to reflect this change.

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