This year marks the fifth year of Minnesota’s “no registration weekend” for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be providing ATV riders with free access to more than 3,000 miles of state forest and grant-in-aid trails. The weekend was originally scheduled for June 8th through 10th (this past weekend), but has been postponed and rescheduled for September 7th through the 9th of this year.
Why the change?
It allows for the completion of new trails, including a 159-mile route that will connect several communities in northwestern Itasca County and a trail that will connect Balsam and Big Fork.
Throughout the weekend of September 7th – 9th, Minnesotans with an ATV registered for private or agricultural use won’t need to pay the additional registration fee ($53.50 for three years) to ride the state’s public ATV trails. Out-of-state riders can also explore Minnesota ATV trails that weekend as well, without the need for a nonresident trail pass ($21 annually).
According to Mary Straka, off-highway vehicle program consultant for the DNR Parks and Trails Division, there are a variety of great ATV-riding opportunities in the state. These great opportunities include:
- The Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area, which is a 1,200-acre OHV park in Gilbert with 36 miles of scenic trails for riders of all abilities.
- The 100-mile trail system in Nemadji State Forest, which connects to the Matthew Lourey State Trail and the Gandy Dancer Trail.
- The 29-mile Spider Lake trail system in Foot Hills State Forest, where riders can curve around lakes and ponds, go up and down a variety of hills, and view overlooks from the ridges throughout the forest.
- The 200-mile Northwoods Regional Trail System in Aitkin and Itasca counties, where riders can use the Soo Line Trail to connect to great communities and trail loops.
Operating an ATV is no different that the responsibility of driving any other vehicle. The DNR advises riders to keep safety in mind when out on the trails. There are rules that everyone that operates an ATV should be aware of:
- Safety training is required for ATV riders born after July 1, 1987, and it is recommended for everyone that operates an ATV.
- Kids under age 18 must wear a DOT-certified helmet.
- Kids age 16 and under must fit the ATV they are operating and be able to properly reach and control the handlebars and reach the foot pegs while sitting upright on the ATV.
Trail maps, updates on trail conditions, youth ATV Safety training and other OHV information can be found online at www.mndnr.gov/ohv.
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