The DNR is committed to making the outdoors accessible to as many people as possible. As of March 15, 2011, the Department of Justice required state and local governments to make some changes that broaden that access. Individuals with mobility disabilities can use other power-driven mobility devices, unless the department can demonstrate that the class of other power-driven mobility devices cannot be operated safely, without harming resources, or conflict with federal laws.
- Wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids
You can use wheelchairs (manually-operated or power-driven, including electric scooters) and manually-powered mobility aids (such as walkers, crutches, canes, or braces) in any areas open to pedestrian use.
- Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices
Mobility devices include any device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, but that is not a wheelchair. The devices that are likely to be used are categorized as:
- Facilities and Lands
DNR buildings, lands, and developed recreation. Not included are:
- roads managed by other units of government located within DNR facilities and
- private property or facilities and programs (such as Walk-In Access, Grant-in-Aid, and conservation easements).
When you arrive at the DNR facility or land (where the device would not normally be allowed under state law) you may have to provide credible assurance to a DNR employee that the device is used because of a disability. You can demonstrate your eligibility by showing a valid state-issued disability parking placard or card, showing other state-issued proof of disability, or making a verbal representation of the mobility disability not contradicted by facts observed.
You must comply with the following requirements when using other power-driven mobility devices in DNR facilities and lands:
- You must clean outdoor gear and devices before arriving to the recreation site and before leaving the recreation site. You must remove seeds and mud from clothes, boots, gear, pets, and devices. This will limit the spread of invasive species.
- You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others.
- You are not allowed to damage DNR facilities and lands (such as rutting ground, wetlands, waterbody beds, or ski trails; damaging trees, etc.).
- You are required to know if you are in a DNR facility or land, and the facility or land type.
- You are required to have other permits or licenses needed for other recreational activities like hunting and fishing.
AMA. Aquatic Management Area managed by the Fish and Wildlife Division.
Areas of Limitations. Areas designated on state forest lands that are established primarily for the purposes of
- protecting unique natural resource values and
- providing non-motorized recreational experiences.
The trapping and big game hunting exception for ATVs does not apply in areas of limitations. Off-trail use and undesignated trail use are limited or restricted in areas of limitations.
- Highway licensed vehicles are allowed on forest roads.
- Motor vehicles are not permitted on roads.
- Off-highway vehicles, defined as All-terrain vehicles/Off-highway motorcycles (ATVs/ORVs/OHMs) are prohibited.
DNR Recognized Paths. A path that connects elements, spaces, or facilities within a site (such as picnic areas, campgrounds, trailheads, and viewing areas).
DNR Recognized Hunter Walking Trails. Trails that wind their way through WMAs, sometimes connecting with state forests and other public hunting lands. Relatively easy access trails where small game such as grouse and woodcock may abound.
LUP. Land Utilization Project managed by the Fish and Wildlife Division.
- Highway licensed vehicles are allowed on signed forest roads, unless posted closed.
- Off-highway vehicles, defined as All-terrain vehicles/Off-highway motorcycles (ATVs/ORVs/OHMs), may operate on signed roads and trails.
- ATV travel off of signed motor vehicles trails or forest roads is prohibited except when hunter/trapper exception applies.
- EXCEPT: Persons lawfully engaged in hunting big game or constructing hunting stands during October, November and December, retrieving big game during September, or trapping during open seasons, may use ATVs off forest trails in a manner consistent with the general operating restrictions. This exception does not apply in the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest.
- Highway licensed vehicles allowed on roads/routes unless posted closed.
- Off-highway vehicles, defined as All-terrain vehicles/Off-highway motorcycles (ATVs/ORVs/OHMs) are allowed on roads, routes, and on designated trails.
- ATV travel off routes, roads, and designated trail is prohibited except when hunter/trapper exception applies.
Managed Roads and Parking. A road or parking area that the DNR is the managing unit of government.
SNA. Scientific and Natural Area managed by the Ecological and Water Resources Division.
Routes. State forest routes that are signed and managed.
WMA. Wildlife Management Area managed by the Fish and Wildlife Division.
- Use Table and Explanations
The DNR uses this table and the explanations that follow to determine where other power-driven mobility devices are allowed and when a special use permit is required.
Type of Other-Powered Mobility Device
Single-user Electric Devices Golf Cart, Class 1 ATV, & Single-user Internal Combustion Devices Class 2 ATV Off-Road Vehicle Highway Licensed Vehicle Snowmobile DNR Buildings, Caves & Mines Yes, walking speed No No No No No DNR Recognized Paths, Hiking & Snowshoe Trails Yes, walking speed Yes, where the device is at least 6” less than half of the surface width, walking speed Special Use Permit, walking speed No No Special Use Permit, walking speed DNR Picnic & Day-use Areas Yes, walking speed Special Use Permit, walking speed Special Use Permit, walking speed No Special Use Permit, walking speed Yes DNR Multi-use non-motorized
Yes, less than 15 mph Yes, where the device is at least 6” less than half of the trail width & operates at walking speed. Generally this device meets the width requirement. Special Use Permit, walking speed No No Yes, where snowmobiles
DNR Ski Trails Yes, for devices adapted to not damage trail surfaces No No No No No DNR Motorized Trails & Areas & Managed Roads & Parking Yes Yes Yes ORV trails, roads, and parking only Roads and parking only Yes DNR Equestrian Areas & Trails Yes, walking speed Yes, walking speed Special Use Permit, walking speed No No Special Use Permit, walking speed DNR Closed Forests, Cross Country Travel in Managed & Limited Forests, & Areas of Limitations Yes Special Use Permit Special Use Permit Special Use Permit Roads, parking & Special Use Permit Yes DNR Managed Forests - Routes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes DNR Limited Forests - Routes Yes Yes, walking speed Yes, walking speed No Roads & parking only Yes DNR Recognized Hunter-walking Trails (WMA & State Forest) Yes, walking speed Special Use Permit, walking speed Special Use Permit, walking speed No No Special Use Permit, walking speed DNR WMA, AMA & LUP (for recognized paths & hiking trails, see above) Yes Special Use Permit Special Use Permit Special Use Permit Roads, parking & Special Use Permit Special Use Permit DNR SNA (for recognized paths & hiking trails, see above) Yes Special Use Permit Special Use Permit Special Use Permit Roads, parking, & Special Use Permit Special Use Permit
- Only persons with mobility disabilities are allowed to use, as an operator or passenger, an other power-driven mobility device in DNR facilities and lands where the device would not normally be allowed under state law.
- We recommend that you carry the Use Table with you in case other persons are not familiar with what is allowed.
- DNR recognized paths, hiking trails, snowshoe trails, and multi-use non-motorized bicycle trails:
- Single-user electric devices, single-user internal combustion devices, Class 1 ATV and golf cart are allowed where the device is at least 6” less than half of the path or trail width.
- Class 2 ATV may be allowed where the device is at least 6” less than half of the path or trail width.
- The speed limit is walking speed in pedestrian or limited visibility areas and less than 15 mph in motorized areas except where higher speeds are allowed for other users.
- State forest lands:
- Cross-country (off-trail) other power-driven mobility travel is generally prohibited, except pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, chapter 84.926 (hunting and trapping season exceptions), and by special use permit for any person.
- Hunting/trapping exceptions for ATVs and highway licensed vehicles apply.
- Lands temporarily posted closed to motorized use are also closed to other power-driven mobility devices.
- Exceptions must be addressed by a permit.
- This does not apply to:
- roads managed by other units of government located within DNR facilities and
- private property or facilities and programs (such as walk-in access, grant-in-aid, and conservation easements).
- Special Use Permit
In special circumstances, the DNR may issue a permit to allow use of an other power-driven mobility device in otherwise prohibited areas if it determines that a unique situation applies and special conditions can be placed on the use that would make it safe to operate the other power-driven mobility device or prevent serious harm to the environment or natural or cultural resources.
You can submit a special use permit application to the DNR Information Center. You can either:
- fill out the electronic form, save and then email it to [email protected] or
- print the application, fill out and then mail it to 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4040.
We encourage you to contact the facility or land manager to discuss the request before you start the application process. The facility or land manager is expected respond to you with a permit acceptance, with or without conditions, or denial response within two weeks from the time you have submitted all required information (including additional information beyond the application). Once the application is approved it becomes the permit.
If you arrive to a facility of land with a mobility device that requires a permit application, the manager has the right to request up to two weeks to respond to the request.
Consistent with the terms of this Policy, the DNR shall waive enforcement of its laws and regulations against use of OPDMDs in DNR facilities and lands where they would not normally be allowed provided the person using the device complies with this Policy.
If you do not use the device as directed by the table or permit, your ability to use the device as directed will be denied or the permit will be revoked.
- Complaint and Appeal
The public can submit an appeal in writing to the DNR ADA Title II Coordinator, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4049.
- Law and Statute