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more designated riding opportunities in southern Michigan. In 2000, these two were replaced in the top five by reduce ORV license fees for those only using ORVs for hunting/fishing and who do not use the designated system and increase ORV law enforcement. With provision of ORV information on the DNR website including the availability of maps there and the shift in ORV use northward, the study authors suggest that the need for better information may have been at least partially met and riders are increasingly used to using the designated system and other opportunities in northern Michigan. New concerns about reduced fees for those solely supporting hunting and fishing (in particular deer hunting and ice fishing) with ORV use may be linked to the quarter of all ORV use for this purpose. Further, requests for increased ORV enforcement may be linked to concerns about environmental damage from illegal ORV use and illegal riders giving legal ones a bad reputation. As always, there is a desire to have more places to ride.
Statewide Economic Impacts The economic impact of ORV use in Michigan was also studied in Nelson et al. 2000. The average licensee spent $1,944 from July 1998-June 1999 to support ORV use on items not related to ORV oriented trips. This included ORVs and trailers (equipment), insurance and storage. Equipment accounted for 80% of these expenditures. In total this non-trip spending was estimated to amount to $134 million annually. Considering that the number of ORVs has since almost doubled, it is reasonable to assume this non-trip spending has risen in a similar manner. However, because most ORVs (other than some full-size vehicles) are manufactured outside of Michigan, the economic benefit of much of this equipment spending to the state is limited to dealer markups on vehicles.
Concerning ORV trips of 100 or more miles from home or those involving an overnight stay and where the primary purpose was ORV riding (not hunting, fishing, working around one’s property, etc.), it was estimated that licensees and their friends and family took 152,000 such trips during July 1998-June 1999. Those trips generated $40 million in spending in the local area where riding took place and en route to and from riding area. The spending does not include spending at home in preparation for the trip and thus is conservative in its estimate of economic impact.
Coupled with the $134 million in equipment spending, this was estimated to have supported 822 Michigan jobs, provided $16.4 million of income to Michigan workers, generated $ 2.4 million in state sales taxes (at the former 4% level) and generated $336,000 in state income taxes. This provides a substantial economic benefit to economies in northern Michigan. In particular, many businesses that support outdoor recreationists such as private campgrounds, motels, convenience stores, restaurants, parts and repair facilities, etc. are locally owned, providing substantial local economic benefit to small towns and rural areas.
Recent Surveys of Michigan Local Government Entities