The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources contracted with NOHVCC in conjunction with Minnesota Four-Wheel Drive Association (MN4WDA) to plan and implement a “Border to Border Touring Route.” For more information please review the FAQs below and/or visit the DNR Border to Border webpage.
What is the Border to Border Touring Route?
It is a scenic backroad route across the State that will connect the North Dakota border to the shores of Lake Superior on public roads to:
- Minimize asphalt.
- Provide for connections to communities who can then inform visitors on local camping, museums, food, fuel and scenic stops.
- Create an opportunity for a community to enhance visitor experiences, such as marketing and promoting festivals or cultural events and activities like nature or bird watching.
Who is it being planned for?
- It is for drivers of vehicles with current license through the Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS). No other registration or license or pass is required.
- A seasonal promotion period was one of the recommendations from the 2018 listening sessions that will likely be from the time road restrictions are lifted in the Spring to November 1.
- Vehicles must meet State and Federal requirements and meet DOT standards for road use. This includes meeting thresholds for overall noise emissions.
- It is not being planned for all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs). If a road is open to ATVs now – it stays that way. If a road is not open to ATVs now – it will remain illegal to ride ATVs on that road.
- All existing regulations, responsibilities, precautions and courtesies stay in place for all vehicle drivers, bicyclists, truck drivers, equipment operators, horseback riders, walkers, etc. on all roads.
Initially, MN4WDA proposed funding for touring routes and other issues related to off-highway vehicle activities. The Association represents vehicle owners that have highway licensed vehicles, and those members support the State creating touring routes that minimize asphalt. MN4WDA is putting in place a maintenance fund for roads that are part of the route.
DNR contracted with NOHVCC in conjunction with MN4WDA to plan and implement a “Border to Border Touring Route.
Once a final draft projected alignment is in place, it will be submitted to the DNR’s Environmental Review Unit for assessment of potential impacts. After required appropriate environmental review is completed, the DNR will proceed to work with local road authorities on implementation.
What has happened to date?
Listening sessions were held Jan – Feb 2017 to help develop a draft alignment. Last summer was spent reviewing that draft alignment on the ground and modifications were made to improve the alignment. DNR interdisciplinary field review was completed on the modified alignment. The Ecological and Water Resources Division Environmental Review (ER) unit was consulted.
Once again, Feb – Mar 2018 public listening sessions where held to review the modified draft alignment across the State.
The DNR is taking feedback from the listening session meetings, County Township Association meetings, County Board meetings and input from Townships as the proposed road alignment is drafted.
A common theme of comments was that many confused this with ATV use, which is not included in the route planning. It is for highway-licensed vehicles.
What will be happening?
The proposal will continue to be modified based on feedback received.
- Receive final report from NOHVCC with alignment
- Finalized draft alignment submitted to EWR ER for EAW needs analysis
June – September 2018
- PAT Leadership/CMO update
- Implementation depends on EWR needs analysis and permissions with road managers/authorities
September 2018 –
- Implement, in cooperation with partners, by putting up signs, providing maps and a webpage.
- Assist communities who have developed itineraries, history of routes or locations to connect to webpage or print visitor information.
- Monitor the route. Visitors using the MN Border to Border Touring Route may generate increased traffic. The exact amount of increase is unknown and will require monitoring once the route is in place.
- Provide maintenance assistance based on associated increased needs for Border to Border Touring Route visitor traffic.
For more information, contact:
Division of Parks and Trails
NOHVCC Management Solutions