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DNR invites public comments on forest classification and motor vehicle access proposals for state forest lands in Cook County (2007-03-21)

Following open houses and a collaborative effort with Cook County, the U.S. Forest Service and the Grand Portage Band, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now accepting public comments on its forest classification and motor vehicle route designation proposal for Cook County, which is located at the tip of the Arrowhead Region of northeastern Minnesota.

The plan includes proposed designations for the Pat Bayle and Grand Portage state forests in Cook County, as well as for thousands of acres of "scattered lands" located outside of state forest boundaries throughout the county.


In Cook County, the DNR is proposing to retain the "managed" classification for the Grand Portage State Forest (routes open unless posted closed), but to classify the Pat Bayle as "limited," along with all scattered state forest lands located outside of state forest boundaries (routes closed unless posted open).

All state lands within the BWCAW are currently classified as "closed" to motor use and would remain so under this proposal.


In all, the DNR proposal makes recommendations for more than 200 miles of roads, trails and other inventoried routes on about 80,000 acres of state forest lands in Cook County. The proposal, which includes some existing route closures, will determine where motorized vehicles, including cars, trucks and off-highway vehicles, will be allowed to operate on state lands in Cook County.

This proposal is being made in consultation with Cook County, Grand Portage Band and Superior National Forest officials in ensure consistency across land ownerships. The goal is to make these proposed forest access changes more readily understandable and enforceable.


The DNR is inviting public comment on this proposal. A public meeting on the Cook County proposal is planned for 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 51 West Fifth Street, Grand Marais. The first hour will allow people to informally review the plan, maps and other summary materials. DNR and Superior National Forest representatives will answer questions regarding motorized access planning for state and federal lands in the county.

After this, DNR will present its proposal and respond to questions and comments. Written comments will be accepted at the meeting or through May 31 at the address below.

The DNR's Cook County forest classification and route designation proposals are available on the DNR Web site at

Copies may also be viewed at the Grand Marais Area Forestry Work Station at 1356 East Highway 61 in Grand Marais.

Written comments, questions or requests for copies of the planning documents should be directed to Brian McCann, DNR Trails & Waterways, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4052; to or by calling (651) 259-5627 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Written comments on the draft proposal will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31.