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6). Conflicts within the ORV community tended to be primarily between motorcyclists and ATV riders. There were conflicts with ORV riders and non-motorized users who walk, ride horses or use mountain bikes on designated motorcycle and ATV trails. There were also conflicts on ORV trails/routes that are also designated snowmobile trails. These were between ORV and snow machine users and those who groom snowmobile trails. These include situations of ORV use immediately prior to winter resulting in a less than smooth treadway surface and uses during periods of minimal snow in winter by ORV and snowmobile users. There were trespass issues in some locations where ORV users strayed from the designated trail and entered private lands.
Some conflicts seemed regional in nature. For example, in the UP there were some short- term conflicts on UP forest roads used for logging traffic that are also designated ORV routes. Also in the UP there were also conflicts where ORV riders use routes through communities as transportation from town to town. This appears to involve many under 16 who are waiting to “move up” to a car or truck but cannot obtain a driver’s license. The key concern is that it involves considerable noise and dust in populated areas and much of this riding also appears to lack of direct adult supervision (a violation). In the Lower Peninsula, there were conflicts in northeastern Lower Michigan with the oil and gas industry. ORV riders illegally rode on oil and gas service roads and had unplanned interactions with oil and gas service vehicles, often large trucks. Also, the Black Mountain area, with its array of motorized trail and non-motorized pathway opportunities along with designated state forest campgrounds, there is reported conflict among trail users and between ORV oriented campers and non-ORV campers. Specific suggestions to reduce or eliminate these conflicts are provided by the evaluators in Table 10.
Finally, on 20 (25%) of trails, evaluators made additional substantive comments about challenges faced and improvements needed. Some key themes in the UP were to better use alternate routes in areas with water and rocky outcrops and to consider ways to hard surface portions of routes running through villages/towns where dust is a serious problem. In the Lower Peninsula, suggestions included better signing on the ground of existing designated scramble areas, connectors between cycle and ATV trail loops that would lengthen riding opportunities and provide access to goods and services, specific infrastructure repairs/improvements, clearer signage about where snowmobile and/or ORV use is appropriate and different approaches to managing camping on or near selected ORV trails and routes.
Trends in Michigan ORV Use and Users This section provides information about ORV use and users from ORV registration and license data and three statewide Michigan ORV studies published in 1977, 1989 and 2000. Copies of these major reports (Alexander and Jamsen 1977; Nelson 1989; Nelson et al. 2000) can be found in the appendices of this plan. Key trends across the 24-year (1976-1999) span encompassed by the three studies are summarized in Nelson and Lynch (2001). All three studies used mail questionnaires sent to a representative sample of ORV registrants (1977 and 1989) or ORV licensees (2000) to elicit information.