Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area Master Plan Amendment
The Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area is Minnesota’s only and one of the Nation’s first recreation areas catering primarily to off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts. The master plan was completed in 1998 and amended once in 2010 to accommodate the Virginia Expansion site. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is in the process of rerouting US Highway 53 near the State Recreation Area to accommodate mining. This reroute gives the DNR the opportunity to provide additional access to the Virginia expansion site. Because this is different than what is currently in the master plan, the DNR must amend the master plan. Additionally, the DNR has identified several other areas within the State Recreation Area’s master plan the agency would like to amend. Specific changes may include:
- Modifying the visitor facilities outlined in the original master plan.
The original plan identifies several features that for various reasons were not completed. These include a short-term storage facility, a pro shop and a concessions area. Since the time of the master plan, these facilities have either been determined to be not needed or not feasible. The DNR also would like to encourage visitors to utilize local businesses for their needs during visits to the State Recreation Area.
- Addressing road access to the Gilbert site:
The original master plan indicated that Dakota Avenue would be extended easterly from Gilbert and the Highway 135 entrance was temporary. However, delays in acquisition of the Dakota Avenue alignment resulted in an improved (and presumed permanent) Highway 135 entrance.
- A second crossing of the railroad tracks to provide access to an isolated parcel:
The DNR originally intended the isolated parcel for a non-motorized (mountain bike) recreation area. Over time, DNR has shifted focus of the Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area to only motorized recreation and has reverted control of the parcel to the City of Gilbert.
- Addressing safety, sound and dust concerns:
During the master plan process, significant concern was raised as to the safety of users as well as impacts of noise and dust on local residents. Specific language was included in the master plan to address these concerns. Since that time, none of the concerns have been realized and DNR has reduced sound and dust checks with no complaints from local residents.
- Use of sound buffers:
The master plan for the Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area calls for sound buffers to reduce noise for local residents. Since the time the master plan was written, OHVs have become quieter and alternatives methods to mitigate excessive noise has been introduced. The DNR would like to use best management practices to address noise issues within the State Recreation Area.
- Addressing conflicts with State Statute:
The original master plan has language related to helmet use and vehicle registration that is not consistent with State Statute. The DNR would like to amend the master plan to be consistent with State Statute so not to confuse users.
- Access to Virginia Expansion site:
The first amendment to the master plan addressed to acquisition of the Virginia expansion site. This plan was very specific as the only access to the site was through the existing Gilbert site. The Highway 53 reroute and associated trail possibilities offer connections that were unforeseen. The DNR would like to explore alternatives to capitalize on the potential trail connections and manage access to the Virginia expansion.
- Mileage of trail in Virginia site:
The Virginia master plan amendment specifically state 75 miles of trail within the expansion site. DNR would like this number to be flexible to provide a number of miles of trail that provides a satisfactory experience to users while providing ample opportunities for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-road vehicles (ORVs) and off-highway motorcycles (OHMs)
- Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area Master Plan Amendment Project Background, PDF (2 pages, 117 KB)
- Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area Master Plan, PDF (1998, 184 pages, 9.7 MB)
- Virginia Site Master Plan Amendment, PDF (2010, 47 pages, 4 MB)
- Map of Virginia Site core trails and connection, PDF (2017, 1 page, 5.9 MB)
- Map of current and potential future trails around the State Recreation Area, PDF (2017, 1 page, 4.3 MB)
The Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Trails Division will hold an information open house on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Training Center at the:
Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area
7196 Pettit Road
Gilbert, MN 55741
For more information, please contact Allan Larsen, IROHVSRA Site Manager at (218) 735-3833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments will be accepted at the open house on June 20. In addition, you may comment now through 4:30 p.m. on July 5, 2017. To comment, please use our online comment form or send your comment to:
Joe Unger, OHV Planner
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Trails Division
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155