The Iron Range OHV Recreation Area
Since 2006, BFGoodrich Tires has bestowed a special designation upon nearly a dozen off-road trails across the United States and Canada. The special designation is part of the company's Outstanding Trails Program, which recognizes particular trails as well as the individuals and 4x4 clubs who maintain them. The trails and groups selected typically personify BFG's dedication to the responsible use and preservation of off-road trails, and in addition to receiving the totally awesome "BFGoodrich Tires Outstanding Trail" title, they also receive much needed funds to continue their conservation efforts.
For the 2008 BFGoodrich Outstanding Trails program, BFGoodrich worked with Tread Lightly and the United Four Wheel Drive Association (UFWDA) to select six trails that would be recognized. Among the 2008 picks was the Iron Range OHV Recreation Area outside Gilbert, Minnesota. The Iron Range is Minnesota's first designated state recreation area for off-highway vehicles and features 36 trails and 1,200 acres of recreation area with more than 30 miles of trails and even more slated for the future. 'Wheeling opportunities abound for all levels of experience on a wide variety of terrain. The area of the Iron Range trail system was mined until 1981 and contains iron ore pits, ore stockpiles, and tailings basins, amid largely wooded 200-foot-high mountains of ore that offer views of northern Minnesota that stretch for 20 miles. Lakes are a common sight. The OHV park borders along Lake Ore-Be-Gone and Deep Lake, Gill Lake, Lost Lake, and Leaf Lake, are also scattered about the area. Being the land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota really does follow through with this proclamation. If you don't see a lake in the direction you are looking then you likely aren't looking hard enough.
Along with the trail being honored, the dedicated group behind the Iron Range OHV Recreation Area- the Northern Minnesota Jeepers-was also recognized. After all, much of their hard work led to the Outstanding Trail designation, and with the provided grant money from BFG the Northern Minnesota Jeepers will be continuing their hard work as they preserve the trail system and continue conservation efforts. The club also works in conjunction with other area clubs to assist in the maintenance and preservation of existing four-wheel drive and off-highway vehicle opportunities, and in the creation of new opportunities where ever possible.
The Iron Range OHV Recreation Area was built and is operated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The OHV park offers a multi-purpose event area, a 4x4 rock crawl and obstacle course, a tough-truck competition course, sand and mud drags, hill climbs, and miles of OHV trails that are signed with the degree of difficulty for users. Additionally, there is a six-bay wash area in place at the entrance to the park so vehicles can leave just as clean as they came.
To explore the other trails honored by the 2008 BFGoodrich Outstanding Trails program check out the Outstanding Trails web site at at www.bfgoodrichtires.com/outstand ingtrails. More information about the Iron Range OHV Recreation Area, including hours and days of operation, entrance fees, and trail maps, can be found at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at www.dnr.state.mn.us.
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