Public invited to review proposed forest road changes, including trial of nearly 100 miles at Camp Grayling for ORVs

Contact: Matthew Foster, 989-619-5921
Agency: Natural Resources

Nov. 1, 2021

Three people on ORVs travel down a gravel road in the forest surrounded by autumn foliage

Does the sight of a gravel road winding deep into the forest make you want to explore? If so, you're likely familiar with Michigan's network of state forest roads spanning thousands of miles.

"Forest roads are a gateway to ORV riding, hiking, hunting, fishing and enjoyment of state forest lands," said Jeff Stampfly, chief of the Department of Natural Resources' Forest Resources Division.

Updates are annually made by the DNR to ensure the forest road inventory is accurate and meets the requirements of the law. Comments are being accepted on proposed updates to the forest road system through Dec. 1.

"Public input on the forest roads inventory is critical to our decision-making, helping to protect forests and provide better access to outdoor recreation," said Stampfly.

Proposed changes to forest road maps include:

  • Adding roads that previously were unmapped and removing roads that no longer exist.
  • Removing duplicate road entries.
  • Closing or opening roads to conventional vehicle use.
  • Closing or opening roads to ORV use.

Proposed access to Camp Grayling forest roads

A significant proposed change under consideration this year is opening a portion of forest roads located within the Camp Grayling training area to ORV use. The roads under consideration are located on state forest lands, leased from the DNR for military training, near the city of Grayling. 

"Grayling is known for its abundance of opportunities to enjoy the woods and water, and this opening to ORVs will add to our area's outdoor offerings," said Lovells Township Supervisor Gary Neumann.

The proposed opening of forest roads to ORV use in this area would be on a trial basis, and includes 94.8 miles of forest roads on 16,000 acres north of County Road 612 in Crawford County. The forest roads under consideration will be open to the public when not in use for military training. When the area is used for training activities, the roads will be gated off for public safety. Notice will be posted on the Camp Grayling Facebook page and shared on local radio stations.

"We're looking forward to the trial opening of these forest roads for recreational use, and we're committed to ensuring public safety. We intend to use this trial to evaluate the feasibility of opening more Camp Grayling lands for ORV use," said Camp Grayling commander Col. Scott L. Meyers. "The camp takes great pride in our community support, and helping people enjoy what northern Michigan has to offer expands that relationship. Looking forward to seeing you on the trail!"

Public input process

Public input will be accepted online and via email through Dec. 1. Comment on or view the locations of proposed changes on an interactive web map or printable PDF maps at Michigan.gov/ForestRoads. Send emails to DNR-RoadInventoryProject@Michigan.gov.

Comments also will be accepted at upcoming Michigan Natural Resources Commission meetings in early 2022. At the January meeting, state forest road proposals will be presented to the DNR director. At the February meeting, the DNR director will make a formal decision on the proposed changes.

New maps will go into effect and be published online April 1, 2022.