St. Cloud, Minn. -The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds all-terrain vehicle operators that it is illegal to ride ATVs within state or county highway right of way (ditches) in the Minnesota "Agricultural Zone" between April 1 and August 1.
The law protects wildlife habitat and prevents roadway erosion. This does not apply to Class 1 ATVs registered and used exclusively for agricultural purposes.
"Agricultural zone" means the areas in Minnesota lying south and west of a line that begins at the Minnesota-North Dakota border, then runs east along Highway 10 to Highway 23, then follows Highway 23 east to Highway 95 to the Wisconsin border.
ATV operators are also encouraged to avoid areas of road construction. Operators should always be alert for areas with hay mulch, reinforced woven fabric, survey markers, wooden stakes, earthen berms and other devices set in place to prevent erosion.
"Recently we've found severe erosion damage from illegal ATV usage along Highway 169 and Highway 95 at Princeton," said Mark Renn, MnDOT roadway regulations, St. Cloud. "Operators had illegally cut and removed protective barriers before entering the damaged area, which will cost approximately $200,000 to repair."
Freeways such as Interstate 94 and Highway 169 at Princeton, where there are no at-grade intersections, are also prohibited from use by all recreational vehicles year-round.
MnDOT encourages recreational operators to be informed about local or state restrictions before heading out on public land.
To learn more about ATV laws in Minnesota visit the Department of Natural Resources Web site at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/.