Hackensack, MN — The Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club would like the public to know that the Chippewa National Forest, Walker Ranger District, is planning to close 27 miles of roads in the Remer area to all vehicles and is now inviting comments from the public regarding the closings. Comments must be received by the CNF by February 19, 2010.

The road closings are part of the Proposed Action for the Moon Resource Management Project, which includes activities regarding timber harvests, road management and the improvement or possible replacement of the Laura Lake Bridge.

The project area encompasses an area on the east side of the Chippewa National Forest, Walker Ranger District. The boundary is roughly described by lines from Goose Lake and Highway 65 on the north; Vermillion Lake and Remer on the east; Mable, Swift and Lucille Lakes on the west, and the Chippewa Forest boundary to the south.

For additional information, maps showing the roads proposed to be closed to all vehicles, and comment sheets, contact Carolyn Upton, District Ranger, Chippewa National Forest, 201 Minnesota Avenue East, Walker, MN 56484-2189 or call (218-547-1044).

The Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club, formed last July and now with over 150 members, brings together ATV and OHM enthusiasts to enjoy, promote and protect responsible riding in the Chippewa National Forest and the surrounding area. For information, write to the Woodtick Wheelers, P.O. Box 83, Hackensack, MN 56452.

Moon RMP System Road Obliteration (Total Miles: 8.74) Road Numbers:

2057, 2070, 2113C, 2113G, 2113H, 2117C, 2117D, 2302G, 2301I, 2324, 2329, 2352G, 2559, 2564B, 2702, 2764, 2784, 3571, 3579B, 3579G

Roads Recommended To Be Closed To All Vehicles (Total miles: 14.91) Road Numbers:

2063, 2069B, 2103C, 2117A, 2117F, 2321B, 2321G, 2323B, 2559, 2579, 2583, 2703, 2792, 2792A, 2792B, 2792C, 2792D, 2792E, 2792F, 2793, 3572

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I have written a Letter to the Editor and submitted it to newspapers in northern Minnesota. I have pasted a copy of that letter below.

Thanks.

Dave Halsey, President, Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club,

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HEADLINE:

Chippewa National Forest Needs Greater Transparency In Road Closings.

In the fall of 2008, the Chippewa National Forest closed the Woodtick Trail and hundreds of miles of low-traveled roads to ATVs and other off-highway vehicles. Public hearings were held, but there was no publicity of the road closings in local media. The “NO OHV” signs went up and that was that (with fines totaling $175).

Last summer, the Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club was formed in response to those road closings. The club quickly grew to over 150 members, showing the impact the road closings had on residents and cabin owners, many who now have no access to a public forest they and their families had enjoyed for decades.

On January 20th, 2010, the Chippewa National Forest sent out information packets announcing its plan to close another 27 miles of roads in the Remer area, not just to ATVs but “to all traffic.” After receiving a packet on the “Proposed Action” — called the Moon Resource Management Project — I looked on the web sites of local newspapers to see if it was publicized. Except for an announcement buried in the Chippewa National Forest web site, I couldn’t find any articles informing the public about the road closings.

Not only did the project receive little or no publicity, it was made mid-winter when many people who use those roads are not even in the area, and it gives the public just 30 days to comment.

Enough is enough. The Chippewa National Forest needs greater transparency as it continues to close or “obliterate” (their word) roads used for decades by hunters, hikers, and people from 12 to 85 who enjoy the National Forest in their cars, trucks and ATVs.

Those who run the Chippewa National Forest are not the “landowners of the National Forest,” as their public liaison told our ATV club. They are merely the caretakers. We, the public, are the landowners. And we deserve to be treated as such.

For additional information on the Moon Resource Management Project, maps showing the roads proposed to be closed to all vehicles, and comment sheets, contact Carolyn Upton, District Ranger, Chippewa National Forest, 201 Minnesota Avenue East, Walker, MN 56484-2189, call (218-547-1044), or go to the Chippewa National Forest web site and click on “Projects and Plans.”

Hurry, the deadline for your comments on this unpublicized road closing is February 19, 2010.

David Halsey – Outdoor Writer, Hunter, President of Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club

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