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1 State Forest Reclassification & Motorized Route Designation: Implementation of the 2003 OHV Legislation ___________ Tim Browning OHV Implementation Manager.

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Presentation on theme: "1 State Forest Reclassification & Motorized Route Designation: Implementation of the 2003 OHV Legislation ___________ Tim Browning OHV Implementation Manager."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 State Forest Reclassification & Motorized Route Designation: Implementation of the 2003 OHV Legislation ___________ Tim Browning OHV Implementation Manager Trails & Waterways Division Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

2 2 2003 OHV Legislation Major Features Current Inventory of all roads & trails Designate open roads/trails on all Forestry administered lands then reclassify to LIMITED or CLOSED OHV Damage Account Wetlands Prohibitions NEW 70 Mile ATV/OHM Trail Study of OHV Trails in MN – Broad Scope

3 3 TERMS MANAGED CLASSIFICATION = roads and trails are open unless posted closed LIMITED CLASSIFICATION = roads and trails are closed unless posted open CLOSED CLASSIFICATION = roads and trails closed to OHVs plus no hunting exemption plus no off trail snowmobiling DESIGNATED ROAD/TRAIL = the specific route has been reviewed and authorized uses identified…Off trail travel is already prohibited UNDESIGNATED TRAIL = No motorized use

4 4 What are we talking about?? Identifying and providing sustainable motorized access to State Forests: All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) Off-Highway Motorcycles (OHMs) Off-road Vehicles (ORVs) Street-Legal Cars and Trucks.

5 5 Tasks & Timelines Tasks & Timelines Roads/Trails Inventory on 6 million acres by October 2004 OHV Study completed by January 2005 54 State Forests have roads/trails designated and reclassified to LIMITED or CLOSED by the end of 2008

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7 7 Stewardship by Agency

8 8 Managed Use On Managed Trails. DNRs Principal Goal:

9 9 Key Ingredients Commissioners Support Organization Resources

10 10 DNRs Top Priority: To complete the trail designation and forest classification review process for all Forestry-administered lands within the timelines provided by the Legislature.

11 11 Organization Chart

12 12 Field Project Teams Role Charged with developing trail designation and forest reclassification recommendations. Interdisciplinary Teams typically staffed by Enforcement, Ecological Services, Forestry, Trails & Waterways, Wildlife. Supported by Geographic Information System Specialists.

13 13 Regional Managers Team Role Propose schedule of forests to review Manage workloads Remove obstacles to progress Conflict resolution of resource management and personnel issues Ensure timelines are met

14 14 Project Implementation Team Role Advise Policy Committee on issues Coordinate the inventory statewide Develop and manage the designation/reclassification process Establish standards, guidelines, and goals Direct the project implementation process

15 15 OHV Policy Committee Role Resolve policy issues Oversee entire effort Ensure timelines are met Support staff with resources and clear direction on issues Advise the Commissioner on approval of plans

16 16 Forest Road & Trail Inventory Conducted on approx. 6 million acres. Relies on Global Positioning System (GPS) and other existing data sources. Captures both motor and non-motor access. DNR Forestry and T&W primarily responsible. Enlisted aid of MN Conservation Corps crews. Status: Field data collection 100% complete and editing 50% complete

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18 18 Road / Trail Designations Road / Trail Designations 5-Step Trail Designation Process: 1 – Develop project proposals. 2 – Public notification & review. 3 – Evaluate Environmental Review requirements. 4 – Obtain approvals, permits and implement. 5 – Management, maintenance, monitoring.

19 19 Criteria for Designation Teams consider the following in formulating recommendations: Existing designated trails. Other Undesignated OHV uses. Trail need and purpose for public access. Physical suitability. Potential environmental impacts. Other factors.

20 20 Environmental Evaluation DNR is committed to performing an Environmental Evaluation of all proposed motor routes. All previously undesignated routes proposed for an open designation undergo this interdisciplinary evaluation. A Rapid Environmental Evaluation Checklist was developed to assist Field Teams in this evaluation. The Team uses the checklist to rank each routes current and potential future condition given the likelihood of reduced impacts using standard mitigation measures.

21 21 EE Checklist The checklist examines the following potential effects associated with trail development and operation: Wetland or other surface water effects; Natural area features, including listed species; Special forest areas, habitat features; Soils, slopes, landforms; Other resources. Historic/Cultural features The Field Teams use GIS to access various environmental data layers in applying the checklist.

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23 23 Forest Reclassification Currently – Managed, Limited or Closed to motor vehicle operation. Procedures contained in MR Chapter 6100.1950. Managed forests must be reclassified as either Limited or Closed. Field Teams develop recommendations based upon inventory and other available data sources.

24 24 Reclassification Criteria (from MR 6100.1950) Resource sensitivity & management objectives. Resource impacts from motor/non-motor uses. Motor/non-motor recreational opportunity in the area. User needs (I.e., trails, parking, access, signage) Degree and trend in motor vehicle use in the area. Degree and trend of non-motor vehicle use in the area. Competing interests among different user groups. Public safety and law enforcement concerns.

25 25 Public Involvement Both MR 6100 and DNRs 5-Step Process include opportunities for public input. Public notice via statewide press releases, printed legal notices and State Register. DNR website tracks status of inventory, trail designation and forest reclassification. Minimum 60-day public review / comment period. Public meeting required in project area. DNR will carefully consider all constructive comments.

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28 28 Adoption & Implementation Driven by Field Teams who are charged with: Developing final reclassification / designation recommendations; Playing lead role in project permitting and construction; Providing for management, monitoring and enforcement. As each forest is completed, Field Teams move on to next forest(s) until assignment has been completed. Status: First 6 forest proposals are soon to be approved by the commissioner. Second set of 6 are scheduled for public review. Third set started.

29 29 DNR is Committed To: A sustainable system of roads and trails. Providing access to Minnesotas State Forests that balances the needs of all forest users, both motor and non-motor.. Managed use on managed trails for all types of recreational trails. Effective management, monitoring and enforcement. Continued opportunity to engage the public in forest access planning and decision making.

30 30 State Forest Reclassification and Motorized Route Designation Tim Browning OHV Implementation Manager 218/833-8713 This presentation and associated documents available at

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