The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says approximately 6,300 miles of roads in Michigan’s 4-million-acre state forest system opened to off-road vehicles on Jan. 1.

About 1,200 miles of state forest roads are still closed to ORVs.

Signs are not yet in place, but will be installed on roads that are closed to ORV use as soon as possible, depending on ground conditions. ORV riders who intend to use state forest roads are asked to check DNR maps for closures.

Opening the roads to ORV use is authorized by Public Act 288, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2016, which authorizes use of ORVs on state forests roads. The statute also requires the DNR to inventory and map all state forest roads. An inventory of northern Lower Peninsula roads is complete; forest roads in the rest of the state will be mapped by Dec. 31, 2018.

Some popular areas that will remain closed to ORV traffic include 4.3 miles of roads in the Deward Tract, which is along the Manistee River between Grayling and Gaylord; roads within the Pigeon River Country State Forest, Mason Tract and Sand Lakes Quiet Area, where quiet recreation is emphasized; and some roads offering access to the Au Sable River leading to Black Hole, Sheep Ranch and Old Campground access sites. Also remaining closed: 6.7 miles of state forest roads near the Big Oaks Equestrian State Forest Campground on Avery Lake near Atlanta.

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