The public has the opportunity to submit comments on a proposal to open 35 miles of existing roads in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest to motorized access during hunting times. But officials say this proposal is not for ATV's and UTV's.
The limited-term access would be between September 1 to the last day of the December four-day antlerless gun deer season.
Forest property manager Craig Dalton says this proposed modification of the master plan is not related to recent discussiona about ATV/UTV use on the state forest....
"...There's been some confusion about it. That's a totally separate issue. It's unrelated. (Opening the roads) is to create more access for hunters in the fall. There were areas that have a lower density of open and driveable roads on the property. We did an assessment on that and we're able to pinpoint some areas where we could open more roads...."
The state Natural Resources Board amended the master plan last fall to include elements related to road access and fall hunting use. Roads would be opened in two phases, including 21miles this fall and next year another 14 miles. The roads proposed to be opened are existing forest management roads. The road base and footprint exists and are located on dry ground. The majority of the proposed roads are in forest product management areas.
The public can review the plan and comment online at the DNR website and put in the keywords "Northern Highland" and clicking on the tab management and business. The forest is the state's largest, occupying more than 232,000 acres.