2014-07-03 / Outdoors

DNR reminds ORV riders to ‘tread lightly’, be ethical

Program encourages responsibility on trail

LANSING – With the increasing use of off-road vehicles as a fun, summer activity in Michigan, conservation officers with the Department of Natural Resources are encouraging riders to observe the “TREAD Lightly” program to promote responsible riding.

“The TREAD Lightly program promotes outdoor ethics for ORV riders,” said Lt. Andrew Turner, who leads the DNR’s recreation safety program. “Conservation officers are out on the trails on public land to enforce the ORV laws, and many of those laws and regulations are in place not only to protect the riders but to protect public land as well.”

The program encourages riders to:

• Travel responsibly on roads and trails in permitted areas.

• Stay on designated trails. Don’t blaze new trails.

• Travel only in areas open to your type of vehicle.

• Drive over obstacles to avoid widening trails.

• Do not cross streams or operate in wetlands.

• Comply with all signs
and respect barriers.
• Don’t mix riding with
alcohol or drugs.
• Respect the rights of others,
including private property owners
and all recreational trail users,
campers and others.
• Slow down around crowds and
in camping areas.
• Never operate on private land
without permission.
• Yield the right-of-way when
you meet others on the trails.
• Steer clear of wild animals and
avoid disturbing livestock.
• Minimize noise and avoid
creating dust.
• Educate yourself by obtaining
travel maps and regulations from
public agencies and knowing how
to use and operate your equipment
safely.
• Get maps that show the area
where you plan to ride.
• Learn about the regulations
governing ORVs in the area.

•Make
sure your ORV is
properly licensed if operating
anywhere off private land.
A Michigan ORV license costs
$26.25. If riding on statedesignated trails, a $10 trails
permit also is required.
• Avoid sensitive areas such as
meadows, lakeshores, wetlands
and streams.
• Stay on designated trails and
routes.
• Avoid sensitive habitats.
• Stay out of designated
wilderness areas.
• Do your part to leave the area
better than you found it – properly
dispose of waste, minimize the use
of fire, avoid the spread of invasive
species and restore degraded areas.
• Practice minimum-impact
camping.
• Equip your vehicle with a
spark arrestor.
• Before and after you ride,
wash your vehicle to reduce the

spread of invasive species.

“If all riders could make an effort to follow the TREAD Lightly program, we would have fewer violations and less damage to Michigan’s natural resources,” Turner said. “That means more dollars could be invested in growing the trail system rather than repairing damaged areas.”

To legally operate an ORV in Michigan, drivers under the age of 16 are required to have a safety training certificate and be under the supervision of an adult.

Students who are unable to attend traditional ORV classroom instruction may take an online safety course. Michigan students have two options for an online course: www.atvcourse.com/usa/ michigan/ or www.offroad-ed. com/michigan/. More details are available on each site.

For a complete overview of ORV rules and regulations in Michigan, go to the Michigan ORV Handbook online at www.offroaded.com/michigan/handbook/book. html. For more information on ORV license fees in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

If anyone encounters a rider violating land use rules for ORVs, please contact the DNR’s Report All Poaching law enforcement line at (800) 292-7800.

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