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Letter: Round Lake Township opposes OHV trails

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opinion Detroit Lakes, 56501
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A recent letter to the editor pointed out the destructive nature of OHV's on the environment and why promoting motorized trails does not necessarily make good economic sense. I agree with Mr. Mattison who in his letter stated, "In view of studies demonstrating that the adverse impacts of ATV recreational trail development are significant and inevitable, the Becker County Board must use utmost care in its decision whether to provide even more access to Becker County lands." The Round Lake Township citizens discussed this problem at their annual township meeting and passed the following resolution:

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1. Round Lake Township opposes any and all proposals that would create a "Grant-inAid" off highway-vehicle (OHV) trail anywhere in this township.

2. Round Lake Township hereby adopts the policy that all trails and roadways within the township are declared closed to all recreation (open to utilitarian uses) OHV use unless the trail or roadway is posted as "open.."

3. Round Lake Township requests that Becker County (and to the extent state lands are involved, the Department of Natural Resources) seek and receive the consent of the individuals and townships that may be affected before designating and/or posting any new trail or existing trail or roadway as "open" for any off-highway-vehicle use. This request applies to all roadways (including township roads, county roads, state highways, forest system roads, minimum maintenance roads, logging roads, snowmobile trails or other roadways that have or may have been utilized by motorized vehicles).

There are over 120 miles of government sanctioned and tax-payer supported ATV trails in the Smoky Hills and Two Inlets State Forests in the county with even more connector trails leading to the Paul Bunyan State Forest. The people at the township meeting stated the county should monitor those trails for a year or two before planning additional trails. This would allow for a track record on the ability to enforce regulations, maintain trails and prevent off-trail damage. They were concerned with the expense of emergency services and road maintenance. They were also concerned about a diminshed environment for hunting, skiing, hiking and other activities that attracted people to the township in the first place.

Round Lake Township is not alone in their concern. Several other townships in NE Becker County passed similar resolutions at their respective annual Township meetings.

-- Kay Grignon, Ponsford

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