State Forest Roads Open to Off-Road Vehicles Jan. 1, Au Gres to Assess Stormwater Drainage

For Friday, Dec. 15, 2017


1 – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has completed final recommendations to open thousands of miles of state forest roads to off-road vehicles in the northern Lower Peninsula.

DNR Director Keith Creagh is to take action on the recommendations at a Dec. 14 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing.

The expanded access, if approved by the director, will take effect Jan. 1, 2018, as required under a 2016 law.

The DNR received nearly 2,000 comments on the change.

The agency says that beginning in 2018, all state forest roads in the region will be open to off-road-vehicle use. That is, unless they’re designated as closed by the DNR. Reasons for closures include ensuring user safety, preventing user conflicts and protecting environmentally sensitive areas.

For more information about the state forest road inventory and recommendation process, visit www.michigan.gov/forestroads.

UPDATEMost state forest roads in Northern Lower Peninsula will open to ORV use Jan. 1; check maps for closed areas

Black Mountain Recreation AreaBeginning Jan. 1, 2018, ORV users in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula will have increased access to thousands of miles of state forest roads. Credit: Michigan DNR

2 – Area grants will provide initial funding for stormwater assessment in the city of Au Gres on Saginaw Bay.

A total of $17,500 will be used by Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord. The funding comes from the Bay Area Community Foundation and Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

Saginaw Bay is a designated Area of Concern under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. That’s due in part to excess sediment, nutrients and bacteria that enter the water through stormwater runoff.

A stormwater assessment by Huron Pines will evaluate existing stormwater drainage in Au Gres, including a component to educate community leaders on stormwater management practices. There also will be formal recommendations for next steps.

This project will include student participation in the study and a volunteer-built rain garden to help filter pollutants out of stormwater runoff.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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Off-Road Proposal, Frog-Bit Challenge

For June 16, 2017

1 – There’s a proposal to open up thousands of miles of state forest roads to off-road vehicles in the northern Lower Peninsula.

The expanded access is to take effect in January 2018.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is inviting public input.

Officials have spent the past several months mapping the region’s state forest roads. State forest roads, managed by the DNR, provide access for activities such as habitat improvement, timber management, and fire control, as well as public access for hunting, fishing, hiking and outdoor recreation. Historically, these roads have been closed to off-road vehicle use unless designated as part of an off-road vehicle route.  

A 2016 state law encourages more people to enjoy Michigan’s public lands by enhancing off-road opportunities in the northern Lower Peninsula. Beginning in 2018, all state forest roads in the region will be open to off-road vehicle use unless designated closed by the DNR. Reasons for closures include ensuring user safety, preventing user conflicts and protecting environmentally sensitive areas.

The DNR is holding meetings to allow people to review the proposed changes, ask questions and provide input. Meetings are set for Monday, June 19, in West Branch; Tuesday, June 20 in Cadillac; and Wednesday, June 21 in Gaylord.

For more information and to comment online, see michigan.gov/forestroads. The comment period closes July 15.

 

2 – Huron Pines wants people to take the Frog-bit Challenge.

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Credit: Audrey

It does not involve a bucket of frogs.

The nonprofit is running a Frog-bit Challenge until Sept. 1. The goal is to pull a combined total of 20,000 pounds of the invasive plant. The focus is on the Thunder Bay River watershed.

About 300 pounds of the plans were pulled recently from the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary by students from Besser Elementary, along with volunteers and staff from Huron Pines.

To participate in the challenge or to start a similar effort in your area, contact Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member Wendy Lemon at wendylemon.americorps@gmail.com or call (989) 448-2293 ext. 32. Visit huronpines.org to learn more.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

 

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