WALKER -- Cass County Land Commissioner Norm Moody presented findings Tuesday to the Cass County Board from a statewide DNR committee named to review public recreational trails usage.
Two DNR representatives, one person representing Superior National Forest and 18 citizens representing motorized and non-motorized interests served on the panel.
Representatives from this area included Barry Babcock of Hackensack and Robert Milne of Bemidji.
The committee recommends the Minnesota Legislature:
* Set up new trails in existing corridors whenever possible and let them be used for horse riding and other recreation where appropriate.
* Designate some state forest areas for non-motorized recreation.
* Issue license plates that are clear, legible and uniform for off-road vehicles.
* Expand training for off-road drivers.
* Enforce off-road vehicle laws. Equip conservation officers with computers and require quicker filing of enforcement actions. Encourage cooperation among state, county and federal land managers to ensure consistency in enforcement.
* Establish a long-term statewide committee to advise the Legislature and DNR.
Proposals failing to get the required unanimous approval for recommendation to the Legislature were:
* To prohibit extreme traction tires on trails and in forests.
* To establish a toll-free number to report ATV and off-road damage.
* To require a decal listing state rules on every off-road vehicle.
* To repair ATV damage to non-motorized trails with money from off-road vehicle registration fees and gasoline taxes.
* To give state experts on wildlife, fisheries and ecology more say in trail-building decisions.
* To allow ATVs to be confiscated after three "flagrant" driver violations.
* To buy land to stage special off-road events and to create mud pits and rock climbs.
Tuesday, Cass commissioners voted to direct the county land commissioner "to protect the integrity of the timber access road system on county managed forest lands to ensure that access is managed so as to prevent rutting and erosion associated with improper or unauthorized travel."
Commissioners also voted to support a DNR proposal to buy three of four platted lots on Snow Shoe Lake northwest of Outing. The shoreline abuts a section of county administered land.
They declined to consider offering a new lakeshore lease to children of a woman who stopped leasing a lot in Beulah Township in 1972. The property currently has no road easement over county administered land from a public road, nor is it easily accessible for emergency vehicle services, Moody said.
The board asked that a DNR representative come to a future board meeting to discuss a proposed Long Lake public access and to discuss snowmobile trails funding.
In response to a question from Commissioner Rusty Lilyquist, Moody said his agency closes some logging site accesses after loggers complete their projects, because otherwise a considerable amount of land would be lost to future timber production.
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