DNR Urges Extra Caution On ORV Trails Due To Maintenance Suspension

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is urging those who use ORV trails to be extra cautious due to the suspension of maintenance along those trails. The DNR has released the following statement:

Although motorized trails are open to the public, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges off-road enthusiasts to use even greater care when riding trails this spring.

Due to the updated “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (now extended through May 28) and the State of Michigan’s discretionary spending freeze, ORV trail maintenance has been temporarily suspended.

Typically, ORV grant sponsors handle needed maintenance work before the riding season starts. Under the order, normal preseason activities like clearing dead or fallen trees, trimming brush, grading and replacing signage haven’t yet been completed. That means it’s more likely that riders may come across downed limbs and trees, uneven trail surfaces, missing signage and other related hazards.

ORV riders are asked to:

  • Slow down.
  • Take corners with extra caution.
  • Watch for potential hazards.
  • Stay on designated trails.

These measures, along with greater awareness of other trail users, are critical to ORV rider safety.

“While the DNR encourages taking advantage of local opportunities to get outdoors, there has been a sharp rise in ORV trail use,” said Greg Kinser, the DNR Parks and Recreation Division’s northern Lower Peninsula trails coordinator.

“Many riders return to their favorite trails year after year, but current conditions on those same trails are requiring more advanced riding skills this spring,” Kinser said. “As soon as it’s possible, we will begin the process of assessing trails and returning to regular maintenance activities. In the meantime, we are asking everyone, please, to slow down, stay safe and stay local.”

An ORV license ($26.25) is required to ride anywhere other than private property, and an ORV trail permit ($10) is needed on state-designated ORV trails, routes or areas. During the stay-at-home order, purchases can be made online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses. Visit Michigan.gov/ORVInfo for more details, including information on trail closures, maps and safety..

Riders are reminded to “Ride Right” by keeping on the right side of the trail, operating at a safe speed and anticipating other riders. Learn more about the campaign at Michigan.gov/RideRight.