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E-M:/ MEC Capitol Update - ORV use - follow up

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

The House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee did not report
HB 4180 today.  After falling one vote short to move the bill, the vote
was reconsidered and passed for the day.  This means that the bill could
come back before the committee at a later date.  Voting in support of
the bill were: Tabor, Bradstreet, Rocca, Voorhees, and Sheltrown.

The Michigan Environmental Council, Rails-to-Trails, and the Sierra Club
and the Department of Natural Resource spoke against the bill at the

We continue to support the idea behind Rep. Sheltrown's bill: to make
access to ORV trails as easy as possible for senior citizens and
physically challenged individuals. All the parties testifying suggested
they were open to allowing those individuals to use nondesignated county
roads for the purposes of accessing the designated trails, but were
opposed to their use of all nondesignated trails.  Currently ORVs are
restricted to designated trails throughout the lower peninsula.

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


MEC's testimony: 

March 29, 2001

House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee

Dear Members,

The Michigan Environmental Council opposes any legislation that will
allow the use of off-road vehicles on nondesignated trails.  The
concerns of MEC with the operation of off-road vehicles on nondesignated
trails are as follows:

1)	It will result in substantial natural resources damages due to
erosion 		and the resulting sedimentation build up in rivers in streams
damaging 		fish spawning habitat.

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

3)	It will cause nondesignated trails to 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)	It will lead to more trespass problems by ORV users attempting to
access 	designated trails.

6)	It will make private property owners less willing to allow a 		
"nondesignated" trail to traverse their private 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.

	We note that these concerns are not present if use is limited to 
nondesignated county roads. 

Prepared by:

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

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