LANSING — Many – but not all – state forest roads will open to off-road vehicle traffic on Jan. 1. Before riding, make sure roads are authorized for ORV use by checking online maps. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources forest roads maps are found at www.michigan.gov/forestroads. Final maps will be online by Dec. 31.
“Due to frozen ground conditions, closed roads are not all marked yet,” said Deb Begalle, DNR Forest Resources Division chief. “Some roads remain closed to balance motorized recreational access with the need to protect our resources.”
Approximately 6,300 miles of roads in the state forest system in the northern Lower Peninsula will open to ORVs. About 1,200 miles of roads will remain closed.
Opening the roads to ORV use is authorized by Public Act 288, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2016. Besides opening roads, the statute required the DNR to inventory and map all state forest roads. An inventory of northern Lower Peninsula roads is complete; inventory on forest roads in the rest of the state will be completed by Dec. 31, 2018.
Examples of areas that will remain closed to ORV traffic include the Pigeon River Country State Forest, Jordan Valley, Mason Tract, Deward Tract, and Sand Lakes Quiet Area, all of which emphasize quiet recreation. Other roads will remain closed to reduce conflict with non-motorized uses and protect natural resources.