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DNR seeks input on off-highway vehicle camping options in Roseau County

Established in 1967, Hayes Lake State Park in northwest Minnesota provides recreational opportuities in a wilderness setting adjacent to Beltrami Island State Forest. (Photo/ Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has scheduled two open houses in December to take input on off-highway vehicle camping facilities in Beltrami Island State Forest and adjacent Hayes Lake State Park in northwest Minnesota.

The first open house is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Warroad Forestry Office, 803 Cherne Drive NW, Warroad, Minn. The second open house will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13 at the DNR Central Office building, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

Both open houses will cover the same information.

The open house sessions will offer opportunities to review maps of existing and potentially new camping areas, discuss the needs and desires of OHV campers and submit comments. The DNR also will accept written comments through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27.

Hayes Lake State Park was established in 1967 to provide recreational opportunities in a wilderness setting. Beltrami Island State Forest is a 703,000-acre working forest surrounding Hayes Lake State Park with more than 238 miles of OHV trails designated.

There is demand for additional facilities for OHV camping in the Hayes Lake and Beltrami forest area, the DNR said, and the public input opportunities will help staff better understand what OHV campers desire and how the DNR can accommodate these desires.

DNR staff will use comments from the meetings and the public input period to develop a recommendation that will be used to improve camping facilities for OHV users in this part of northwest Minnesota. If, through this public review process, it is determined that permitting OHV use within Hayes Lake State Park is the most viable option to provide OHV camping, a master plan amendment would be required for the park, as well as some legislation to amend the designation status. The master plan amendment process would need to be completed before any designation change to the park allowing OHV access.

Submit written comments by email to Joe Unger at joe.unger@state.mn.us; by postal mail to Unger at DNR Central Office, 500 LaFayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039; by fax to (651) 297-1157; or by using the online questionnaire found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov.

Comments also can be submitted by calling the DNR's Parks and Trails Division Central Office in St. Paul at (651) 259-5279 or by calling Hayes Lake State Park at (218) 425-7504.

Information also is available online at mndnr.gov.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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