Superior National Forest managers have announced a new decision regarding off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in the forest. Off-highway vehicles include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles, and four-wheel drive vehicles.
The Forest-wide Travel Management Project will provide more “loop routes” and connections for longer distance OHV riding opportunities on existing roads and trails as well as making site-specific determinations for “unclassified roads.”
The revised OHV plan was originally put forward in December 2008, but implementation was delayed by an appeal. The Regional Forester reviewing the appeal upheld the OHV plan on all but one appeal point—the analysis of potential air quality impacts in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Following the appeal decision, a further analysis of air-quality was held with public comments taken. Following that review, Forest Supervisor, Jim Sanders, signed a revised decision that found no significant impact on air quality with the OHV plan.
The decision will go into effect when the Motor Vehicle Use Map is published, which is expected to be in spring of 2010. The map will display the various types of motor vehicles that are permitted on roads and trails on Superior National Forest system lands.
Off-highway vehicle riders will be expected to use the map as their official guide to which roads and trails are open for use. If the road is not on the official motor vehicle use map, then it is not legal to ride on that road.
According to Superior National Forest managers, Consolidating OHV use is expected to result in lower road maintenance costs, cleaner water, improved wildlife and fish habitat, and fewer conflicts between motorized and non-motorized recreationists.
For more information on the plan and the history behind it check out the USFS website.