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Tread Lightly Reminder for Spring Trail & Road Use

Forest managers remind trail users of road restrictions and trail resource damage resulting from use during spring weather conditions.

Duluth, Minn., – April 9, 2024 – Forest managers remind all motorized and non-motorized trail users to practice TREAD principles during spring trail and road use. Although the winter weather was mild, the roads and trail beds experience a freeze-thaw environment in Minnesota. Users may create deep ruts and mud holes along the trail and road systems which increase the time and expense for the Forest and trail partners who work hard year around maintaining them, as well as safety issues for users.

Trails - National Forest System trails, both motorized and non-motorized, within the Superior National Forest (SNF) can incur substantial resource damage during spring thaw. Aligned with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources the Superior ATV trail systems open May 1 – October 31. Trails experience spring storm damage as well, where downed trees may result in impassable trails, some even deep into a trail system. Patience is requested as forest staff and partners work to clean up trails and make ready for visitors.

"Our trails cross a mosaic of landownership to ensure connectivity, our staff and partners work hard year around to ensure these trails are safe and accessible," says Michelle de Leon, Developed Recreation Program Manager - SNF, "We look forward to continuing to work with our partners like the MN DNR and the many trail associations across the forest to not only maintain the trails and access, but also in working towards adapting policies and procedures to allow for more flexibility as varied seasonal weather continues."

Roads - National Forest System roads within the Superior National Forest are in seasonal spring load restriction of four (4) tons per axle since March 11.

"Our main goal is to reduce negative impacts to road surfaces like rutting, washouts, and other resource damage that vehicular traffic can cause during the spring"–Preston Tripp, Civil Engineer on the Superior National Forest.

State and county spring load limits are in effect for all other roads. Limiting heavy loads in the spring on roads in freeze-thaw environments like Minnesota helps to protect road structure. Load limits are expected to continue into May.

Treadlightly website for road and trail ethic principle information.

For more information regarding trails see the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources trails website, and the Superior National Forests recreation website page.

For more information regarding seasonal load restrictions see the Minnesota Department of Transportation website for spring restrictions

https://www.dot.state.mn.us/loadlimits/index.html

 

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