DNR to hold open house in Ely on state forest trails in northern St. Louis and Lake counties

State forest trail use and management in northern St. Louis and Lake counties will be the topic of an open house, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 6-8 p.m., at Vermillion Community College, Room NS111, Ely.
During the open house, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff will provide maps of existing trails, answer questions and take comments and suggestions from the public.
Between 2003 and 2008, the DNR inventoried all routes and designated trails for various types of recreation within state forests.
This current project will reevaluate the designations made during the initial review of the Bear Island, Burntside, Insula Lake, Lake Isabella, Lake Jeanette and Sturgeon River state forests in St. Louis and Lake counties.
The majority of the State Forest lands lie within St. Louis County with outlying areas extending into Lake County. The statutory boundary of the project area encompasses over 392,000 acres, with approximately 99,000 acres of DNR administered land.
The David Dill Memorial State Trail passes through the Bear Island and Sturgeon River State Forests. Nineteen miles of the Taconite section are within the Bear Island State Forest. The trail is a natural surface trail open to hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and snowmobiling. State trails are not part of this planning project, however, a master plan for the Taconite section is currently under review.
Changes could include redefining how trails can be used, determining options for motorized trail routes and trail connections, closing unsustainable trails, designating “areas with limitations” during hunting and trapping activities, and developing new hunter-walking trails. Changes to state forest trail designations must be made by commissioner’s order and published in the State Register.
Written comments may be submitted to foresttrailplanning.dnr@state.mn.us or by mail to Joe Unger, DNR Parks and Trails, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039. The DNR will accept written comments through Nov. 2.
For more information, contact:
Joe Unger, OHV planner, Parks and Trails Division, 651-259-5279.
Joe Majerus, area supervisor, Parks and Trails Division, Tower Area Office, 218-300-7842.