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E-M:/ ORV/ATV Riders Reminded to Heed Trail Designations

Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>

August 29, 2005

Contact: Lt. Jeff Gaither, 989-732-3541, ext. 5100, or Mary Dettloff, 517-335-3014

ORV/ATV Riders Reminded to Heed Trail Designations

Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officials today reminded off-road and all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts who are planning a trip to the northern Lower Peninsula this Labor Day weekend that not all state forest trails are open to motorized use.

The reminder comes in response to continued problems with motorized vehicle operation in Cheboygan County's Black Mountain Forest Recreation Area, which is a very popular destination for ORV/ATV operators.

"Many of the motorized vehicle operators we have cited this summer are not aware that in the Lower Peninsula, ORV operation is permitted only on designated trails, in designated areas and on a designated route such as forest roads that are signed for ORV use by the department," said Sgt. Greg Drogowski, DNR Law Enforcement. "The general rule is that trails and forest roads are closed unless they are posted open."

Operators are reminded that ORV/ATVs not licensed for highway use may not be operated on the roadway, shoulder or right-of-way of a state or federal highway or a county road that is not covered by specific county ordinance.

"Cheboygan County is one of several counties in this part of the state that allow people on their county road shoulders and roadways," Drogowski said. "People know they are driving legally and just assume that any forest trail they come to must be open as well. Most of the time they are not."

Earlier this month Drogowski organized a work group of DNR employees from the Law Enforcement and Forest, Mineral and Fire Management divisions to put up a number of new signs in the Black Mountain area to identify illegal trails. About 40 posts were installed with signs that state "NO ORVs" and another 20 of these signs were added to existing posts. Several illegal ORV trails also were bulldozed closed and posted with signs.

DNR law enforcement officials said they will be concentrating their patrols in the Black Mountain area over the Labor Day weekend.

"We will be utilizing department aircraft to help support our group patrols on the ground," said Lt. Jeff Gaither, Gaylord District supervisor. "We urge all ORV operators to stay on designated trails."

State land rules also prohibit the operation of an ORV or any motorized device in a designated state forest campground, except for entrance to and departure from the campground.

"Courtesy and respect for other campground users is a matter of safety," Gaither said. "Our goal is to increase compliance with state ORV regulations."

For more information, visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr. The ORV/ATV page can be found by clicking on the Recreation & Camping link.
The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.


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