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Debate could heat up over plan to close roads in state's only national forest

You may soon hear more debate over a plan close 55 percent of the roads in Wisconsin's only national forest.

Starting Saturday, the U.S. Forest Service will give people 30 more days to comment on closing vehicle access to 2,500 miles of roads in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in far northern Wisconsin.

The change is due to take effect in January. It will affect roads once used for logging which are no longer maintained.

You need a four-wheel-drive vehicle just to go on many of those roads.

John Schnorr of the Wisconsin Off-Highway Vehicle Association says it would be a huge setback for hunters and anglers in the forest and he's not sure if many of them realize it.

Ed Harvey of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress says it won't help the state reduce its high numbers of deer.

Deputy forest supervisor Tom Erba says he has not received a single comment from an environmental group maybe because the proposal goes their way.

On many of the roads, Erba says vehicles can create ruts that cause erosion. He says drivers will be educated about the changes during their first year, but after that, they could get tickets.