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Trail permits, fees briefly waived

PEDRO — For those who enjoy using the many trails of Wayne National Forest, it has been announced that the fees have been temporarily waived until further notice.

The reason is that trails open before a state committee meets to consider a proposed fee rate change.

“Last year, we proposed trail permit fee changes and conducted public involvement on that proposal. Our next step is to share this proposal with the Regional Recreation Resource Advisory Committee, which will not convene until April 20,” said Wayne National Forest Supervisor Tony Scardina. “As a result, I have decided to waive the fees until the advisory committee reviews our proposal and a decision is made by the Regional Forester for the Eastern Region.”

He added the measure is an effort to reduce confusion as since permits go on sale on April 1 and WNF wanted to avoid changing fees just a few weeks after the permits go on sale. The trails will reopen at one minute after midnight on Friday, April 13.

If approved, the fee change proposal would eliminate trail permits and fees for horse and mountain-bike trail users, and reduce the annual fee for off-highway vehicles from $45 to $35, and from $24 to $20 for a 3-day pass. There would no longer be a one-day permit.

“Our hope is that we have a final decision by April 30 and can implement the changes if they are approved.” Scardina said, adding they will provide more information to the public towards the end of April when they know the advisory committee’s recommendation and Regional Forester’s decision. “We hope riders of all types enjoy this opportunity to experience the wide-range of great trails on the Wayne National Forest.”

Scardina also announced that he has approved the Pine Grove ATV Connector Trail Project on the Ironton Ranger District in Lawrence County, which will add 3.37 miles of trail that will connect the Hanging Rock and Superior OHV Trail Systems.

“This project has to be implemented in two phases and will likely take until the spring of 2019 and beyond to be fully developed. We look forward to working with our partners and communities to seek funding and volunteer support to move it forward,” Scardina said. “I also want to remind riders in the area that you must be on a designated trail as identified on our travel maps, and need to be respectful of adjacent landowners in the area.”

Authorizing this project aligns with the Wayne National Forest 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan. The plan encourages the development of OHV trails. Currently, the Forest has almost 150 miles of trails available on 244,243 acres of National Forest System land.

Riders are reminded that all other rules and regulations still apply, such as staying on designated trails, wearing a helmet and eye protection if riding an off-highway vehicle, only double riding if the off-highway vehicle is designed for two riders, and no alcohol on National Forest System lands.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/wayne.