2017-12-07 / Outdoors

Trail permit dollars serve as backbone of Michigan snowmobiling program

It’s almost time to grab sleds, gather friends and discover the thrill and beauty of Michigan snowmobil­ing.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages resi­dents and nonresidents to purchase their snowmobile trail permits and ride more than 6,000 miles of des­ignated trails and thousands more miles of public roads and lands. Michigan’s snowmobile program is 100% funded by trail permit and registration dollars – dollars that are directly reinvested into the program for the benefit of snowmobilers.

Ron Yesney, the DNR’s Upper Peninsula trails coordinator, said the purchase of a snowmobile trail per­mit not only gives the buyer access to one of the nation’s most intercon­nected snowmobile trail systems, but also directly helps fund groom­ing, signage, maintenance, bridge and culvert construction, purchase of new equipment, liability insur­ance; maintenance of trailhead ame­nities (signage, bathrooms, plowing of parking lots) and other snowmo­bile related expenditures.

“Snowmobilers are encouraged to purchase their snowmobile trail per­mit early in the season,” said Yesney. “The DNR uses the funding to sup­port the more than 60 nonprofits, clubs and local units of government that receive grant funding for the purpose of grooming, signing and maintaining trails across the state.”

The snowmobile trail permit is valid for one year, which begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30 of the following year. The permit enables snowmo­bilers to ride state-designated trails and public roads and public lands (where authorized). State-designat­ed trails are open Dec. 1-March 31 and grooming occurs when there is enough snow on the ground.

Snowmobile trail permits are sold for $48 and are available for sale:

• Online through DNR E-License at www.mdnr-elicense.com.

• Online through the the Michi­gan Snowmobile Association at www.msasnow.org.

• In person at a number of DNR customer service centers.

• In person at a number DNR hunting and fishing license vendors.

Snowmobilers should remember that snowmobiles must be registered with the Michigan Secretary of State (unless sleds are used solely on pri­vate property). Registration is good for three years, and those registra­tion dollars support the purchase of easements, law enforcement on trails and safety education.

Yesney said it’s also important to note that more than 50% of desig­nated snowmobile trails are located on private land at the sole discretion of individual landowners. In recent years, approximately 400 miles of trails on those private lands have closed because of excessive tres­passing (riders not staying on trails) and modified exhausts (loud pipes).

“Because of the hard work of our trail partners and the generos­ity of private landowners who allow access to their property, Michigan has quality trails and many beauti­ful places to ride,” Yesney said. “We ask all snowmobilers, please, to ride safely, respect private property, don’t modify your exhausts and en­joy the ride.”

For information on snowmobil­ing, contact Ron Yesney at (906) 228-6561 or yesneyr@michigan. gov.

Learn more about the state’s snowmobiling trail opportunities – including permits, trail reports, safety, maps and more – on the DNR website www.michigan.gov/snow­mobiling.

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