The U.S. Forest Service's Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio announces the opening of more than 100 miles of designated motorized trails, the largest trail system of its kind in Ohio.
To celebrate the occasion, the Wayne National Forest and the Pickerington, Ohio, based American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)/All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA) renewed a five-year agreement to promote safe and legal use of off-highway vehicles.
"Really the message is to act responsibly, to ride safe, and ride responsibly with respect for the environment. Stay on the trail," said Rob Dingman, president and CEO of AMA/ATVA.
The agreement was signed in the Dorr Run Off-highway Vehicle Trail Area north of Nelsonville, near Haydenville in Hocking County. Shortly after the signing, Dingman and other members of AMA/ATVA were among the first to ride the Wayne National Forest trails for the season.
Motorized trail riding continues to be one the most popular recreation activities on the Wayne National Forest. In 2013, The forest sold more than 7,500 trail permits; a large majority of permits sold were to motorized trail riders. Based on 2013 trail permits sales, it is estimated that the Wayne's motorized trail system receives 20,000 to 30,000 visits annually from motorized trail use.
In addition to motorized trails, the Wayne National Forest also opened 78 miles of horseback and 94 miles of mountain bike trails. Trail permits are required and are available online, or at several participating vendors. Over 92 miles of designated hiking trails are also available without a permit.
The forest has also opened its developed recreation areas such as campgrounds and picnic areas.
For more information, visit their website at www.fs.usda.gov/wayne. Follow the Wayne National Forest on Twitter: @waynenationalfs.
The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service's Eastern Region includes 20 states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R9.
The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/.