5/4/05 Draft VI
the Ramada Inn in Marquette. The meetings were widely advertised by the DNR and groups related to public forest issues and ORV use and users. Ninty-two signed the attendance sheet in Lansing, 63 signed in Grayling and 100 signed in Marquette. It is likely that there were additional members of the public attending who did not sign, but a specific count of those additional attendees was not kept. While there were some common themes across meetings (need more legal places to ride and need to have opportunities tailored to each ORV user group such as motorcycles, ATVs and, full size vehicles), each meeting had a distinct character and considerable public input.
Lansing Meeting Three distinct ORV user groups were represented at the Lansing meeting, off-road motorcycle riders, ATV riders and those who drive full-size four-wheel drive trucks, jeeps and specialty vehicles such as dune buggies. Each set of riders was also represented by organizational leaders from groups advocating for each type of ORV use. These leaders and many non-affiliated individuals from each type of ORV use advocated for distinct facilities specific to their needs. Many suggested parallel trails in a common corridor, thus providing a separate motorcycle trail and a separate ATV trail in a common corridor of influence. Users of full-size vehicles strongly advocated for more “play” or scramble areas focused specifically on their needs. Many noted they went out of state to find suitable riding opportunities, taking their tourism dollars with them.
There was support across the three user groups for direct access from trails to goods and services such as gasoline, grocery and convenience stores, restaurant food/drink, lodging, etc. Most ORV riders advocated for reopening the full forest road system in the Lower Peninsula to ORV use without being posted open (a situation similar to the UP today). A number of instructors of hands-on ORV safety certification were present and strongly advocated to retain such an education system over a classroom oriented approach. Most in the audience agreed with this position. Finally, there was strong support for using the state gasoline sales tax generated by ORV use for ORV programs, as had been recommended in the original ORV law (PA 319 of 1975). No persons spoke who did not identify themselves as ORV riders of one type or another.
Grayling Meeting Four distinct groups of ORV users attended the Grayling meeting. In addition to motorcycle, ATV and full-size vehicle enthusiasts, those that ride large ATVs (54 - 56” wide John Deere Gator, Kawasaki Mule, etc.) were also present and provided input. As in Lansing, no person spoke who did not identify himself/herself as an ORV rider. Most concerns were similar to those voiced in Lansing including support for a trail system that provided separate opportunities for different types of ORVs, access to goods and services from ORV riding sites, opening the forest road system unsigned like the UP, preference for hands on ORV safety education and support for using state gasoline sales tax generated by ORV use for ORV programs.
In addition, there were a number of specific comments about the need to better maintain the designated trail system in the northern Lower Peninsula, including additional trail maintenance and relocation of trails to more suitable sites (less whooped out, drier, etc.).