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Spring Conditions – Chippewa National Forest Roads and Trails

Spring Conditions – Chippewa National Forest Roads and Trails

Cass Lake, Minn., March 11, 2024 – A mild winter and the start of springtime conditions have many people eager to explore the Chippewa National Forest. Despite the lack of snowfall this winter, forest officials are cautioning visitors that many forest roads may not be accessible due to wet and muddy conditions. Additionally, traveling on thawing, saturated, and muddy roads can result in resource damage and present safety concerns, especially if visitors are not prepared.

Forest officials are encouraging the public to minimize adverse impacts to natural resources by avoiding travel on roads that are susceptible to rutting due to springtime freeze thaw cycles.

Spring load limitations for all Chippewa National Forest roads will follow restriction dates as designated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Restrictions began on March 6 in the north central zone and on March 11 in the north zone. The Chippewa National Forest will enforce a seasonal restriction of 4-ton per axle weight limit on Forest Service (FS) roads. Individual posting of roads will not occur.

Additionally, unless otherwise noted in the Seasonal and Special Vehicle Designations table on the Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs), Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use is prohibited March 15th to May 1st annually on all Chippewa National Forest roads to minimize the damage to forest resources. Forest officials remind users that some roads remain seasonally closed for wildlife or resource concerns. Please report resource damage if you see it.

Coss-country travel is not permitted under the Chippewa National Forest’s travel management plan. Motor Vehicle Use Maps display the open and seasonally open road system on the Chippewa National Forest. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are free and can be picked up at any Chippewa National Forest office or downloaded from the Forest website. Digital downloads of the maps are also available on the Avenza Maps website.

Springtime forest visitors should prepare for muddy trails and variable conditions. To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, visitors should check the Chippewa National Forest website for any road or trail

closures and other safety related updates.

Alternatives to hiking or biking on muddy and potentially unsafe trails in the spring are Migizi Trail, Heartland Trail, and Paul Bunyan State Trail, all of which are paved. In the summer and fall months, after unpredictable Minnesota spring conditions, visitors can enjoy over 298 miles of non-motorized trails that the Chippewa National Forest offers. One of the more popular trails on the Forest is the North Country Trail, which crosses 61-miles of forested lake country through the Chippewa National Forest as part of the larger North Country National Scenic Trail.

Additional information for the Chippewa National Forest is available at

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