5/4/05 Draft VI
with each program paying its commensurate share). Another approach may be to provide a set amount of money equating to a set number of officer hours to be deployed as needed on a situational basis for ORV patrol. Either way, Michigan’s conservation officers are the cornerstone of a total ORV enforcement effort to enhance rider safety and to protect Michigan natural resources
DNR should consider increasing ORV funding to county sheriffs to provide additional patrol hours and acquire appropriate ORV enforcement patrol equipment. County sheriffs are also vital to ORV enforcement. In 2003, a total of 22 counties received ORV enforcement grants. In response to a statewide survey, 16 of the counties involved in enforcement responded. They were involved in ORV enforcement primarily to protect public safety, respond to citizen complaints/concerns especially regarding trespass, cope with increased ORV use in their county and better educate youth regarding ORV safety. They reported 77% of their patrol time was spent on trails and 23% at trailheads. The priority violations they targeted were operation under the influence of drugs/alcohol, operation by a non-certified youth without adult supervision, trespass on private lands, operation on public lands/roadways where prohibited and lack of an approved helmet. Key concerns expressed by counties were the inability to fully fund personnel expenditures and the lack of grant funds for ORV equipment. Table 2 (page 14) notes that only about 70% of the grant funds authorized to counties were actually paid out in FY 2002-03 and 2003-04. It is likely additional northern Michigan counties would participate in ORV enforcement if funds were made available to purchase equipment and there was authorization for officers similar to marine deputies to enforce selected ORV regulations. This authorization of such deputies would require legislation, just as was recently done regarding snowmobile enforcement in Michigan. Such less than fully MCOLES certified officers may be especially valuable at trailheads, leaving on-trail enforcement to fully certified police officers, such as conservation officers and sheriff deputies.
The USDA Forest Service should be eligible to receive ORV enforcement grants to pay for officer hours spent in ORV enforcement. At this time, the Forest Service is currently ineligible to receive enforcement grants, while at the same time they are eligible to receive trail maintenance and environmental damage restoration grants. Their record with maintenance and restoration grants to date has been highly productive. Considering that the national forests are the second largest public land base in Michigan (2.7 million acres), that they provide 14% of the designated ORV trail system, that the amount and proportion of the designated ORV system on Forest Service land is likely to increase and that they have profession law enforcement personnel, it is important to get a significant enforcement contribution from the Forest Service. MCL Section 324.1119 should be amended to allow reimbursement of Forest