5/4/05 Draft VI
following detailed instructions in a trail sign plan on the site specific placement of signs, rather than as an independent contractor with discretionary authority interpreting a system-based sign standard. They were also supportive of signage approaches that made trails more distinct to riders, such as that used in the AuSable Pilot Project to highlight confidence markers.
Finally, they expressed concern about the influence of timber harvest on trail condition, mileage and maintenance. Many noted that harvest tended to straighten trails, thus reducing mileage. Also, trails were often rerouted onto forest roads, reducing the technical challenge and aesthetic value. Some suggested leaving trail corridors in tact. Other suggestions were to clearly measure the pre-harvest mileage and insure equal mileage of equal value is put on the ground nearby to reroute the trail after the sale.
Comments of DNR Field Personnel from Regional Workshops On October 14 in Grayling and October 15 in Marquette, DNR field personnel were invited to express their opinions regarding issues for the updated ORV plan. Those attending included personnel from FMFM, Law Enforcement and Wildlife Divisions.
Grayling Workshop How the DNR integrates ORV management into its overall land management and conservation mission occupied much of the workshop. Many expressed concerns that the range of management activities at the unit level has grown while personnel resources have been static or declining. Field personnel were specifically concerned that the lack of trail analysts over the previous year (the two positions in the Lower Peninsula were vacant for much of the time) had limited their ability to effectively manage the ORV program.
There was also considerable concern about ORV damage to the environment, particularly to sensitive hillsides and riparian zones. This was heightened in the counties where all county road shoulders were opened to ORV use. Many perceived that this policy directly contributed to increased environmental damage on state owned lands, even if those lands were not posted open to ORV use. There was also concern about whether ORV rule violations were prosecuted uniformly across the state.
Restoration of environmental damage from ORV use on public lands was viewed as an important, but very time intensive activity. Field personnel were dismayed by what they perceived of as “red tape” in their efforts to access and use ORV damage restoration funds and provided examples of bypassing that system in favor of using the timber sale process to block illegal ORV access and re-vegetate eroded soils. There was strong support for greater field responsibility for administering, implementing and monitoring such environmental restoration efforts.
A number of FMFM management unit and regional personnel noted their support for an employee classification that would provide employees dedicated solely to forest recreation at the management unit level. They cited a year-round workload with snowmobile, ORV, state forest campgrounds, water access sites, rail-trails and pathways.