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Increased use of trails for off-road vehicles

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, ORV users in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula will have increased access to thousands of miles of state forest roads. Photo Courtesy: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

NORTHERN MICHIGAN (WPBN/WGTU) -- A policy starting in the new year will open more than 6,000 miles of roads in Michigan's 4-million-acre forest system to off-road vehicles.

The new policy is scheduled to take effect January 1.

Department of Natural Resources Director, Keith Creagh, authorized the road use plan Thursday.

An additional 1,200 miles will not be included in the new plan.

ORV users who intend to use state forest roads are encouraged to check DNR maps for closures on their website.

“Lots of planning and consideration have gone into this to make sure that all forest users can have the best possible experience,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR Forest Resources Division. “The plan balances motorized recreational access with the need for resource protection.”

The areas that will remain closed to ORV traffic include: 4.3 miles of roads in the Deward Tract, roads within the Pigeon River Country State Forest, Mason Tract and Sand Lakes Quiet Area and some roads offering access to the Au Sable River leading to Black Hole, Sheep Ranch and Old Campground access sites.

6.7 miles of state forest roads near the Big Oaks Equestrian State Forest Campground on Avery Lake near Atlanta will also remain closed.

For more information on the state forest roads included in the new plan, click here.

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