Many Michigan forest roads will soon open to off-road vehicles

Jun 30, 2017

Next year forest roads in the Lower Peninsula will be open to off-road vehicles.
Credit Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Many Michiganders are about to head up north for a long holiday weekend. When they arrive, some travelers will use public land for hiking, biking, horseback riding and driving off-road vehicles or ORVs. Fans of ORVs will soon have a lot more options. Thousands of miles of state forest roads are about to open up to them in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a public act last fall expanding the use of off-road vehicles on state forest land. The act goes into effect in 2018. It also requires that the state map all Michigan trails and will allow hunters to retrieve deer, bear and elk using ORVs and horses.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Kerry Wieber spoke with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about what state roads will be available to ORVs, the environmental impact, and the reactions to the change from the ORV community, hikers, equestrians and others who use the forest roads. 

The public comment period on the plan is open until July 15. To share your thoughts with the DNR, email DNR-RoadInventoryProject@michigan.gov, or write to DNR Roads Inventory Project, P.O. Box 456, Vanderbilt, MI 49795.