By Jeff Kart
This story originally appeared on Mr. Great Lakes and is republished here with permission.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call (989) 448-2293 ext. 32. Visit huronpines.org to learn more.