Trails on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest are reopening Friday, April 23, to all-terrain vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles, bicycles and horses. The forest had closed trails to such uses last month to protect the saturated ground from rutting and erosion.
“Due to relatively dry spring weather, we’ve been able open the trails a bit earlier than usual,” said Chad Jacobson, recreation program manager. “We’re hopeful to see new and returning users come out this weekend and all season long.”
There are nearly 300 miles of motorized trails on the national forest. During the early riding season, trails may have debris, patches of soft ground, and other hazards. The forest asks that users ride responsibly for their own safety and to protect the trails.
ATV/UTV routes and other trails designated by towns under state law may have different reopening dates across the Northwoods. Riders and other users should check local regulations for trails they plan to use.
Developed recreation sites and hunter walking trails provide opportunities to explore the forest on foot, mountain bike and horse. Trail maps are available on the forest’s website at https://go.usa.gov/xH8rF.
At most developed trailheads, beaches, picnic areas and boat landings on the national forest, users must pay a $5 per vehicle daily fee. The forest provides envelopes for making on-site payments, or visitors may purchase an annual vehicle pass for $30 through district offices and local pass sale vendors. Passes currently available for sale are good through March 31, 2022.
“It’s the best time of year to get an annual forest pass,” said Jacobson. “You get access to the recreation sites opening for spring use, plus the pass will still be good for skiing and snowshoeing next winter.”
Veterans, Gold Star Family members, and active military personnel and their dependents are eligible for free access to day-use recreation sites on national forests and grasslands. More information about recreation fees and passes is available online at https://go.usa.gov/x7SvJ.
The Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages 193 million acres of public lands and more than 3,000 world-class outdoor recreation areas, facilities and programs. Visitors may enjoy year-round, fee-free access to 98 percent of national forests and grasslands as well as two-thirds of developed recreation sites.