5/4/05 Draft VI
provided by Michigan’s state forest system as well as their sister national forests in Michigan. These outputs include wood, outdoor recreation, environmental quality, energy resources and habitat for a myriad of plants and animals.
Fiscal impact is likely to be positive once responsibilities are clearly outlined and agreed upon.
Investigate ways to streamline grant processes to seek efficiencies and encourage additional cooperators.
Rationale is that motorized trail programs (ORV and snowmobile) are unique grant programs for the state of Michigan in that most of the grant money is targeted to operations, not capital improvements (which typifies programs such as the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund). Because of this, performance periods are shorter, the need for cooperators is significant and the loss of a season or a portion of a season to recreational use is a permanent loss that cannot be “made up” to users (who fully fund the program) in a subsequent year. The need to streamline is highlighted by many current and potential grant recipients (maintenance, enforcement or restoration) often lacking professional staff to meet state accountability requirements. The alternative of the DNR performing the functions of the grant recipients is not viable for most functions due to limited DNR personnel. Another option to investigate in this process is to examine the costs and benefits of using for profit contractors for trail maintenance and environmental restoration.
Fiscal impact is likely to be positive if grant funds can be efficiently disbursed and used. This may encourage greater interest in grant sponsor participation as many county sheriffs noted in their response to a survey used in this planning process about their participation in enforcement grants and other matters.
The DNR needs to lead a more conscious and successful effort to clearly identify, document and regularly monitor ORV damage to public lands.
Rationale is that the DNR alone cannot fully assess ORV damage to public lands, yet they are the responsible manager. What is proposed is two pronged. First, the current Operations Inventory is primarily conducted during months of snow cover. While excellent for assessing forest vegetation, it is lacking in its ability to assess the presence and condition of many resources and facilities that involve many aspects of forest recreation, including ORV damage away from the designated ORV trail system. Broadening the operations inventory concept to focus on a full land management inventory would be most useful. During compartment review all aspects of land management (vegetation, recreation, environmental concerns such as ORV damage, wildlife, etc.) need to be considered.
Second, partners are needed to provide the DNR additional “eyes and ears” regarding locating ORV damage to public lands. Key partners will include ORV grant sponsors for trail maintenance, environmental damage restoration and law enforcement. Also, Adopt-a-Forest organizations and