Hayes Lake on sunny fall day
December 3, 2018

Let the DNR know that you oppose allowing ATVs in all state parks, including Hayes Lake State Park

Action Alert

On Nov. 26, 2018 the DNR announced a 30-day public comment period to provide feedback on their efforts to build an off-highway vehicle (OHV, see definition) campground near or within Hayes Lake State Park. The DNR states that they are interested in two things: 1) learning how they can accommodate the desires of OHV users, and, 2) understanding the public perception of permitting limited OHV access to portions of Hayes Lake State Park. Visit the DNR’s web page for more details.

Our concerns

We have a number of concerns about this process, which we shared with the DNR on Dec. 3, 2018. See our full comments here. A summary of our concerns include:

  • Process has not been inclusive:
    The engagement efforts have been targeted toward OHV users, rather than being welcoming to all constituents who would be impacted by this decision.
  • The Outdoor Recreation Act prohibits OHV use in state parks:
    Suggesting that Hayes Lakes State Park could be used by OHVs conflicts with the Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Act, which clearly prohibits such activity. And any suggestion to change this park’s designation should not simply be a reaction to accommodate a specific user group’s desires.
  • Reclassifying this way would be a slippery slope:
    If Hayes Lake State Park is reclassified simply on the basis of one user group’s current desires, it would set a precedent that could impact the entire state park system, with far-reaching implications beyond just this current situation.
  • Reclassifying would perpetuate disproportionate use of resources
    There is nearly 1,800 percent more state land available for OHVs compared to the amount of land available to state park users. This disparity exists despite the fact that only five percent of Minnesotans own an OHV compared to the 30 percent who visit state parks. By reclassifying all of Hayes Lake State Park, or a section within it, The DNR would be repurposing land from the smaller and more heavily used units to the larger more lightly used units.

What you can do:

There are three ways to make your voice heard on this issue.

  1. Take the DNR’s online questionnaire before Dec. 27, 2018
    1. The questionnaire seems to assume that the respondents are OHV users, but since this is the only questionnaire available on this important issues, and the DNR has stated that they want to know the public’s perception of allowing OHVs at Hayes Lake, then we encourage all our supporters to fill out the survey, regardless of whether you use an OHV. Also, even if you have not personally been to Hayes Lake State Park, your opinions about OHVs in state parks in general are important to share. There is space at the end of the questionnaire for adding your comments; this is a good place to state any extra concerns. Feel free to reiterate any of the concerns we stated above. Be sure to sign your comments with your name and city to be sure they are counted as being unique.
  2. Send your comments before Dec. 27, 2018 via
    1. email: joe.unger@state.mn.us
    2. fax:  attn. Joe Unger, 651-297-1157
    3. mail: Joe Unger, Parks and Trails, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155
  3. Attend one of the listening sessions.
    1. Dec. 10, 2018 at 6-8 pm
      DNR Warroad Forestry Office
      803 Cherne Dr. NW
      Warroad, MN 56763
    2. December 13, 2018 at 6 – 8 pm
      DNR Headquarters Building
      500 Lafayette Rd.
      St. Paul, MN 55155

We appreciate seeing your comments. Please consider forwarding your comments or sharing any other opinions on this matter to us at info@parksandtrails.org. Also, if you plan to attend a listening session please let us know.

Please visit our advocacy section for a full array of reasons why we oppose off-highway vehicles such as ATVs in state parks.

OHV stands for off-highway vehicle and is the umbrella term for a variety of vehicles designed for driving off road. OHVs come in all shapes and sizes with anywhere from 2 to 8 wheels, or even tracks. They include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes, off-road trucks. Various efforts have targeted different types of OHVs for use in state parks.

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