GRAND FORKS — Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts in northwest Minnesota are celebrating expanded riding opportunities with the launch of a two-year pilot project that opens the Moose River Dike Road in Beltrami Island State Forest to OHV access from mid-July to mid-September.
The Moose River Dike Road provides a connection for continuous access from the Fourtown, Minn., area on the south end of the forest to communities such as Roosevelt and Williams, Minn., on the north.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources owns the land, and the dike previously was accessible only to highway-licensed vehicles.
Members of the Roseau-Lake of the Woods Sportsman’s Club and the Fourtown-Grygla Sportsman’s Club gathered Monday, July 15, to celebrate the launch of the project, which DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen recently approved.
In essence, the 11.1-mile dike road connects trail systems maintained by the two sportsmen’s clubs, who work together as the Northstar Trail Alliance, said Tony Moe of the Fourtown-Grygla Sportsman’s Club.
They call it the North Star Connection, Moe said.
“This is what we’ve been working for 20 years,” he said. “It’s a nice riding experience for this time of year because it’s a high dike so you get a little bit of a breeze coming through, and there’s always something to look at.
“It’s just a nice open ride and connection without having to run down a county or township road or Dick’s Parkway,” a heavily traveled main road through the forest. “It’s just a real nice connection.”
There’s a 20 mph speed limit on the dike, Moe said, and cameras and counters along the road will record the amount of OHV traffic. Club members also will be keeping an eye on the trail, Moe said.
“It will be focused on,” he said. “We basically said if you see something that shouldn’t be happening, say something and get it done. Take care of it.”