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Hazardous Road Conditions and Increased Fire Risk At Hiawatha National Forest June 15, 2020

Gladstone, MI — (June 15, 2020) – Hiawatha National Forest officials strongly urge visitors and off-road vehicle users to use caution due to road and trail conditions and fire danger.

Visitors and off-road vehicle users are asked to slow down and use extreme caution as recent weather events have pulled down trees, blocked roads and trails, eroded shores and created conditions that require visitors to use extra caution.

“Trail clearing started later than usual because of COVID-19 and has been compounded by back-to-back weather events. The roads and trails are not as clear as they would normally be this time of year. We can’t stress enough the need to use extreme caution,” urged Patrol Captain Brandy Hill.

Please Slow Down!

ATV, OHV and other ORVs:

  • GO SLOW!
  • Some roads are blocked or impassable.
  • Drive with extreme caution to avoid accidents.
  • Expect debris on the ground.
  • Look out for others.
  • Be extra cautious – assume there is something blocking the road ahead.
  • Make sure you have a Forest Service approved spark arrester installed.

Hikers and Other Visitors:

  • Use extra caution.
  • Watch for oncoming vehicles.
  • Look up and look down for fallen trees/limbs.
  • Down trees can block roads and trails.
  • Be aware of missing or damaged signage.
  • Always know where you are going and let others know your location.

“While we understand that visitors and ORV users want to use the trails and roads, nothing is more important than personal safety and the safety of others,” said Forest Supervisor Cid Morgan.

Increased Fire Risk – Spark Arresters Required on Forest Land.

Despite the rain, fire risk remains high. The Hiawatha National Forest is monitoring the situation by ground and air.

Recreational vehicles such has All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV), dirt bikes, in addition to chain saws, must use U.S. Forest Service approved spark arresters when on national forest land. This is an inexpensive way to prevent the emission of flammable debris from engines.

Contact information for the Hiawatha National Forest is available online at our website (https://www.fs.usda.gov/hiawatha); social media (https://www.facebook.com/HiawathaNF); and www.Recreation.gov.

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