5/4/05 Draft VI
The riders of large ATVs also advocated for creation of a designated route system that provided a complete riding opportunity (e.g. large loop), not routes merely as short connectors between motorcycle or ATV trail loops. This was echoed by those who believed this would have positive tourism impacts, especially for older riders, who desired a less technical, more leisurely ride through public forest land and were interested in scenery, stopping to pick mushrooms or berries, etc.
Marquette Meeting The Marquette meeting had the largest attendance and was the most diverse of the three meetings in terms of comments and the presence of non-ORV users. A number of UP landowners who did not ride ORVs brought in photographs of ORV damage to their lands by trespassers. They advocated for increased law enforcement and for the ORV community to “clean up its act”. Riders also attended who did not consider themselves trail riders, rather hunters and anglers who use ATVs as support vehicles to reach remote hunting, fishing and camping locations.
There was visible confusion about the legality of cross-country travel on state forest lands (without the benefit of any trail or road), which some thought was legal until DNR Law Enforcement personnel explained it was not. There was also concern expressed about what form US Forest Service implementation of a more “closed unless posted open” policy would take. Those who spoke and mentioned the current system of state forest roads as well as the designated ORV system being open to ORV use were supportive of continuing that approach in the UP. Many also supported the counties who had their road shoulders open to ORV use.
A number of members of the tourism industry commented on the current and potentially greater importance of ORV riding to the region’s economy. In particular, they advocated for lengthy, designated ORV routes and trails that would promote motorized trail tourism in non-snow months similar to winter snowmobiling. They felt the presence of such long- distance designated trails would be critical to attracting and retaining such tourism. Others felt it was important for ORV program signage to be compatible with snowmobile program signage.
Finally, some county sheriff department ORV safety instructors noted that they supported an approach to provide classroom ORV safety education through county sheriffs using the schools (similar to marine safety) as a methodology to rapidly reach more youngsters than the hands-on approach. This was not universally supported, but many were in agreement. The group also heard input from a parent whose son had been killed in an ORV accident on a private road by a chain.
Written Public Comment Provided to the DNR The Michigan DNR designated Steve Kubisiak, Recreation and Trails Program Coordinator, to receive written comment, by both regular and electronic mail. A total of 64 distinct individuals wrote to Steve regarding updating the ORV plan. While some communications only spoke about one topic, most covered two or more. A clear majority of those commenting overall wanted to increase ORV opportunity in some way in