Earlier this year, the Star Tribune reported on the rise in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and other off-high- way vehicles (OHV) use in Minnesota. According to the article, “Minnesota ATV registrations grew to 323,956 machines last year, a 36% increase from 15 years ago.”
This increase in use was accompanied with increased incidents of illegal riding off trail and speeding. A retired state forester said it’s affecting the DNR’s ability to manage for conservation.
Several new OHV trails are in development, including a 280-mile ATV trail across northern Minnesota from the City of Ely to the City of Tower.
Last year, a portion of Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine was carved out as a “secondary unit” to allow for the development of an ATV campground. The park- land is separated from the rest of the park by Highway 169.
Residents of Eagles Nest Township, which borders Bear Head Lake State Park raised concerns about increased ATV use. The Timber Jay [northern St. Louis County] reported, some residents see the increased ATV traffic through the heart of Eagles Nest as a way to pressure the Legislature and the DNR to allow for ATVs use through the state park where it’s prohibited.
- Star Tribune, “ATV boom reshaping Minnesota’s forests and DNRs priorities“
- Timber Jay, “Eagles Nest residents cry foul over proposed ATV route“