Off-roaders in the Gopher State may soon have an easier time ‘wheeling, as lawmakers have recently introduced a bill intended to garner funds for statewide planning and development of trails for off-road vehicles.
Minnesota legislators Josh Heintzeman, Rob Ecklund, Jason Metsa, and Dale Lueck introduced the bill and are now officially the coolest dudes in that state’s government. They are seeking the creation of a strategic master plan of trails for off-road vehicles and recognizing an interest within the state for additional well-managed trails and facilities for off-highway recreational vehicle enthusiasts and other recreational users.
Initiatives like these help legitimize our hobby and help those unfamiliar with it realize we’re not out to bust up nature and leave a burning trail of fire in our wake. Treading lightly by way of respectful off-roading cements the fact that a properly developed and managed trail system need not be an environmental catastrophe.
Specifically, bill H.F. 3556 is written to “appropriate money to the off-road vehicle account in the natural resources fund for the identification and creation of sustainable, legal routes for off-road vehicles.” With a master plan in hand, the state’s commissioner of natural resources can identify and select appropriate lands for building the new trail system.
The bill is seeking $200,000 for fiscal year 2019. Interestingly, Section 2(b) mentions a “border-to-border touring route” which would be a fantastic feature should it become reality. Keeping things on the up-and-up, the bill does note that vehicles using the trails must be licensed. Whether that means road-legal or bearing some sort of trail-only license is not clear, but it will prevent Toothless Joe from tearing the place up with his knackered Suzuki Samurai.
READ MORE: Piston’s Wild Builds Trails the Right Way
Minnesota’s effort will make the state a very friendly place for off-road and 4×4 enthusiasts, encouraging local fans of the hobby and potentially increasing tourism revenue from gearheads visiting from neighboring states. You can find more details through the SEMA Action Network.