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5/4/05 Draft VI

published in 1977. ORV distribution across time by machine type has shifted from primarily motorcycles to primarily ATVs (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Proportion (number) of Michigan ORV registrations/licenses

80 60 Percent 40 20 0

Motorcycle ATV 4-WD Truck/SUV

1976 (26,400)

1988 (113,500) Year

1999 (124,749)

Geographically, ORV use in Michigan has shifted northward over the past 25 years. The key factors involved include development of the designated ORV system in the northern 2/3 of Michigan, less restrictive ORV use rules on UP state and national forests, law enforcement to limit illegal ORV use in southern Michigan and the increasing use of ATVs (the most common ORV in 1988 and 2000) for non-trail related recreation (hunting, ice fishing) and work/land management activities on large blocks of private lands mostly found in the northern 2/3 of Michigan(Figure 2). From 1976-1999, annual ORV use days (an ORV use day is the use of one ORV for any

Figure 2. Proportion (number) ORV Uses by Region 1976-1999

60 50 40 % 30

20 10 0

1976 (0.9 milllion) 1988 (4.1 million) 1999 (4.2 million) Year

portion of a day) have risen from approximately 900,000 to 4.2 million. Based on the 1989 and 2000 studies, the proportion of total ORV use on the designated system has increased from 21% to 27%. Of all estimated ORV use in 1999, 44% was on private lands for purposes other than hunting and fishing (e.g. land management, trail riding, etc.), 25% was solely for hunting or fishing purposes on public and private lands and 31% was for trail riding purposes on public land, some not on the designated system (e.g. Upper Peninsula state or national forest roads).

When ORV users were asked an open-ended question in the 1989 and 2000 studies about the one most important thing to change in the ORV program, in both studies “providing more places to ride” was the most frequent suggestion. Of the other five most commonly suggested improvements, allowing the use of road shoulders, improving trail maintenance and improving trail signage were noted in both years. In 1989, two other concerns rounded out the top five suggestions: better information about riding opportunities and



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