The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites people with an interest in recreational trail systems and motorized vehicle use in the Chengwatana, Nemadji, General Andrews and St. Croix state forests in Pine County to attend an open house on Wednesday, May 22, to review a set of proposals that include changes to trail systems in the four state forests. The open house will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Askov Community Center, 6369 Kobmagergade in Askov.

Draft recommendations aim to improve trail sustainability and to provide better experiences for people who use the trails. Proposed changes include new trails and trail connections, redefining how trails can be used, designating new hunter-walking trails, closing unsustainable trails and designating areas where off-trail all-terrain vehicle use is banned during hunting and trapping activities (areas with limitations). The draft proposals reflect feedback gathered during an open house in February 2012.

The forests are classified as “limited” with respect to motor vehicle use, which means that forest roads are open to motor vehicles and forest trails are closed to motor vehicle use, except where designated and signed to allow specific uses. All-terrain vehicles may not be used off-trail in these forests except as provided by law for limited trapping- and hunting-related activities. The DNR does not propose changing the “limited” classification.

At the open house, the public can review maps of existing and proposed trails, discuss the DNR proposals, submit comments and suggest changes to the recommendations. Comments received will be used to develop a final recommendation that will be submitted to the DNR commissioner for approval. Changes to state forest trail designations must be made by commissioner’s order and published in the state register.

Written comments will be accepted through Monday, June 24. Comments may be submitted by fax to 651-297-1157, by email to rebecca.wooden@state.mn.us or by mail to Rebecca Wooden, DNR Parks and Trails Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN  55155-4039.

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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