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E-M:/ MEC Capitol Update - ORV use off designated trails

Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>

The House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee has revised its
committee agenda for its hearing scheduled for Thursday, March 29, 2001
to include:

HB 4180 - Rep. Dale Sheltrown (D-Gladwin) - This bill as introduced will
allow persons with handicaps or above the age of 60 to operate their off
road vehicle (ORV) on a nondesignated trail, route or area for the sole
purpose of accessing a designated trail.
Currently ORVs are restricted to designated trails throughout the lower

The concerns of the Michigan Environmental Council are as follows:

1) The bill will result in substantial natural resources damages due to
the operation of ORVs and trail bikes on nondesignated trails.  This
includes erosion on nondesignated trails and the resulting sedimentation
build up in rivers in streams damaging fish spawning habitat.

2) This legislation will make enforcement of the current "designated
trails only" policy a nightmare for MDNR conservation officers.

3) Nondesignated trails will be mistaken for designated trails due to
"legitimate" use by those authorized under this bill.

4) Exempted ORV operators will set a bad example for young ORV operators
who will not understand why some people are allowed to leave the
designated trails when they are not.

5) The legislation will lead to more trespass problems by ORV users
attempting to access designated trails.

6) Private property owners will be less willing to allow a
"nondesignated" trail to traverse their property since under this
legislation ORV would then be allowed to use the trail.

7) It will pose a safety concerns for people using "nondesignated
trails" having to now worry about ORV/trail bike use at the same time.

The committee meeting is scheduled for 8:15 am in room 308 of the House
Office Building.

The members of the House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee
DeVuyst, Tabor, Bradstreet, Garcia, Kowall, Rocca, Voorhees, Callahan,
Basham, Garza, Sheltrown

Prepared by:

James Clift
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539

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