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Michigan Draft ORV Plan: 2005. Dr. Chuck Nelson Dept. Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies MI State University. ORV Plan is Under the DNR’s Umbrella Mission.

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Michigan draft orv plan 2005

Michigan Draft ORV Plan: 2005

Dr. Chuck Nelson

Dept. Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies

MI State University


Orv plan is under the dnr s umbrella mission
ORV Plan is Under the DNR’s Umbrella Mission

  • Conserve, protect and provide for public use and enjoyment Michigan’s natural resources for present and future citizens and visitors.

  • Stewardship is paramount

    • Err on the side of maintaining the productive capability of the environment


What is an off road vehicle orv
What is an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV)?

  • Motor driven vehicle capable of cross country travel without the benefit of a road or trail

    • Motorcycle (24” wide at handlebars)

    • All-terrain vehicle (48” wide at handlebars)

    • Recently larger crossover vehicles (54-56” wide e.g. John Deere Gator, Kawasaki Mule, Polaris Ranger, etc.)

    • Large 4 wheel drive truck, SUV, specialty vehicle like dune buggy

  • Not a single, homogeneous market

    • ORVs don’t include snowmobiles, airplanes, boats

  • In 1998: 104,000 MI licensed ORVs

  • In 2004: 171,000 MI licensed ORVs (64% increase)


Mi s first and only orv plan
MI’s First and Only ORV Plan

  • Mandated by PA 319 of 1975

  • Approved by NRC in 1978

  • Part of the 1979 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

    • Sought to separate ORV activity and other uses where conflict occurred

      • ORV riding allowed on

        • Designated ORV trails, routes and areas

        • Forest road system open to ORVs

          • Forest road defined as a way capable of travel by a 4 wheeled vehicle

        • Develop designated riding opportunities in S. MI

      • Protect the resources of the state from pollution or impairment

    • Two main types ORVs

      • Motorcycles and large 4 wheel drive vehicles, no ATVs


Evolution since 1979
Evolution Since 1979

  • 1980 DNR promulgates administrative rules

    • Close state forest land to ORV use except for forest roads and designated trails, routes and areas

      • Need 1,500 miles designated trail on the ground

  • DNR unsuccessful in creating S MI ORV areas

  • 1989 statewide ORV study (Nelson 1989)

    • ORV has risen dramatically from the 1976 study

      • Less than 1 million ORV days to 4 million ORV days

    • ATVs are the most common ORV

    • Nelson presentation to 1989 MI SAF meeting that open unless posted closed isn’t working

      • First cross country rider illegal, second is following a way capable of travel by a 4 wheeled vehicle

  • 1990 DNR finishes 1,500 miles/rules effective

  • ORV Trail Improvement Fund authorized

  • 1991 NRC approves the system of ORV trails, routes, areas


Evolution continued
Evolution Continued

  • 1991 Public Act 17

    • On Lower Peninsula state forest lands

      • Closed unless posted open

      • Huron-Manistee National Forests adopted same rules

    • UP state forests stay open for use on forest roads and designated trails/areas/routes unless posted closed

      • Task force of citizens/DNR key in making this decision

    • 1992 ORV season rules in effect for first time

    • Eliminates MI registration

      • Money to DNR, not Secretary of State

    • ORV Trail Improvement Fund distribution authorized

      • Grants to non-profits, units of government to maintain trails, enforce rules, restore environmental damage

  • Forest Recreation 2000 (NRC approval 1995)

    • Drafted by State Forest Recreation Advisory Committee

      • Strategic Plan for MI state forest recreation system

        • Goal is a high quality forest recreation program as part of a working, multiple use state forest system

          • Campgrounds, trails (motorized and non-motorized) and areas with forest recreation as the key value


  • Evolution continued1
    Evolution Continued

    • Public Act 58 of 1995

      • Use annual licensing to provide ORV program funding

        • Residents and non-residents pay $16.25/year/ORV

        • Re-Create ORV Trail Improvement Fund, rigid distribution formula

          • Restricted fund with carry-over authority

          • Grants to governmental agencies, non-profits for:

          • > 50% revenues for trail, area, route construction, maintenance, acquisition

          • >31.125% for trail, route and area enforcement

          • > 12.125% for ORV damage restoration on public lands

          • < 3.125% for administration


    Evolution continued2
    Evolution Continued

    • 1997 ORV Trail/Route Assessment (Lynch and Nelson 1997)

      • System of 2,531 miles (not including MCCCT)

        • 86% on MI state forest land

        • 14% on National forest land

      • DNR System condition (not including some segments of MCCCT)

        • Of 2,097 miles rated by DNR

          • 61% good (trail/route in compliance with trail standards > 95% of trail mileage)

          • 27% fair (trail/route in compliance with trail standards 75%-95% of trail mileage)

          • 11% poor (trail/route in compliance with trail standards for <75% of trail mileage)


    Evolution continued3
    Evolution Continued

    • 1997 Trail Maintenance Costs/Reimbursement Rates

      • Workshop with cooperators

        • Out of pocket costs (gasoline, equipment, etc.)/mile

          • $29.04 ORV trails

          • $21.69 ORV routes

        • If labor is considered a reimbursable cost/mile labor costs (@ $6/hour)

          • $104.05 for ORV trails

          • $ 55.05 for ORV routes

      • DNR used the following rates, providing little $ for labor

        • In 1998 Trails @ $45/mile, raised to $54 in 2002

        • In 1998 Routes @ $34/mile, raised to $40 in 2002


    Evolution continued4
    Evolution Continued

    • 1998 Public Act 418 Forest Recreation Act

      • Based on Forest Recreation 2000 Plan

        • Mandates DNR to “develop, operate, maintain and promote an integrated system that provides opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, ORV use,…w/in each state forest”

    • 2000 ORV licensee use and user study (Nelson et al. 2000)

      • First study to use ORV license info

        • Key trends 1975-2000 (Nelson and Lynch 2001)

          • ORV use has shifted northward

          • Proportional and absolute use of the designated system has increased

          • Minority of ORV use is on designated, public trail system

          • Trail system has been created, grown, matured


    Key 2000 findings
    Key 2000 Findings

    • 57% licenses ATV, 23% MC, 19% SUV

      • 21% from UP, 21% from NLP, 58% from SLP

  • 4.2 million ORV days per year

    • 44% private land ride, 31% public land ride, 25% hunt/ice fish

  • In average ORV household 2/3 family members ride

    • 71% of 12-15 aged kids operate ORV, only 1/3 riders completed mandated ORV safety course

    • 57% of 10-11 aged kids operate ORV, only 1/6 riders completed mandated ORV safety course

  • 54% of licensees used the designated trail system

    • 46% did not use the designated system

  • 29% of licensees used a designated ORV scramble area

    • Silver Lake SP, Bull Gap, St. Helens, Mounds

  • Key changes desired in response to open-end questions

    • More riding opportunities, better signage, legal on road shoulders, reduce fee for non-trail users


  • Ausable pilot project nelson and lynch 2002
    AuSable Pilot Project (Nelson and Lynch 2002)

    • Does more law enforcement and more visible signage lead to improved ORV rule compliance

      • Clare, Gladwin, Roscommon and Ogemaw Cos.

      • Improved signage appreciated by riders

      • Area with improved signage and additional enforcement had a 30% decline in ORV violations per contact by DNR enforcement personnel

      • Signage had relatively few apparent vandalism problems

      • Strong support for linking MCCCT loops with designated ORV trail/route connectors

      • Anecdotal evidence the outlaws moved north


    Now an updated plan for 2005
    Now, an Updated Plan for 2005

    • Key issues for updated plan

      • Meet legal mandates

      • Provide adequate riding opportunity

        • Different vehicle user segments seek different riding situations

      • Minimize social conflict

      • Maintain environmental integrity

      • Maximize rider safety and enjoyment

      • Make most efficient use of ORV funds

        • Currently $4 million + fund balance in ORV Trail Fund

      • Recent new wrinkle – New FS rules

        • “Closed unless posted open” on all NF

          • Not just the Huron-Manistee

      • Forest certification

        • Visible implementation of Best Management Practices throughout state forest system

        • Unrestored ORV damage consistently noted as a problem


    Orv plan legal requirements
    ORV Plan Legal Requirements

    • Inventory state forests

    • Assess their suitability for ORV use

    • Designate ORV system

      • Done between 1979 - today

    • Resource management to maintain system and restore ORV damage

    • Citizen and manager need for ORV trend data

      • Use

      • Users

      • Licenses

      • Grants


    Public input sessions with orv grant recipients
    Public Input Sessions with ORV Grant Recipients

    • Maintenance (9/21/04)

      • Support for more visible signage

      • Want DNRsign plan removing discretion for sponsors

      • Significant concern about liability associated with maintenance activities

      • Growing trail use = more trail maintenance

      • Costs higher than reimbursement for most

  • Restoration (9/15/04)

    • Engineering requirements are challenging/onerous

    • Need better ID of ORV damage sites off trails

    • Need more restoration interests involved

    • Restoration job not getting done


  • Public information meetings
    Public Information Meetings

    • Lansing, Grayling, Marquette (10/12-14/04)

      • About 300 attended

      • Four distinct ORV user groups represented

        • Motorcycles, ATV, large ATV-like vehicles (Gator, Ranger, etc.), full size truck/dune buggy

        • Non-users (typically private landowners)

      • Users want separate trails to meet differing user needs

        • More trails in total

        • Parallel trails,“play” areas for large trucks

        • Many want NLP forest roads open to MC/ATV

        • Stated need for trail restoration, relocation

      • Want direct access from trails to goods/services

      • Support hands on & written youth ORV safety ed.

      • Non-users stories about trespass, environmental damage to public and private lands and facilities

        • Message is get rid of bad actors


    Mi county sheriff survey fall 2004
    MI County Sheriff Survey: Fall 2004

    • 60 (72%) of 83 responded

      • Participate in teaching ORV safety using a model similar to marine safety education

        • 38 (63%) wanted to teach ORV safety education, 2 (4%) maybe, 15 (25%) not interested, 4 (7%) no response to question

      • 16 participated in ORV enforcement grant program in 2003

        • 77% enforcement time on trails

        • 23% at trail heads

      • Key violations targeted

        • 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

        • lack of an approved helmet/safety equipment

      • Participated in enforcement because

        • Public safety need, citizen concerns about trespass, increasing ORV use, illegal ORV use on roadways, enforcement need


    Sheriff survey results
    Sheriff Survey Results

    • Of the 16 in ORV enforcement:

      • 7 (44%) of the 16 also conduct ORV safety education

      • 16 (100%) do marine safety education

      • 9 (56%) do snowmobile safety education

      • 6 (38%) do hunter safety education

    • More counties interested in ORV enforcement if barriers overcome

      • Need additional money

        • ORV equipment

        • Enforcement personnel

      • If designated trails were in county

      • Other barrier may be qualifications of enforcement personnel

        • Do they need to be a certified police officer?

  • Potential for year-round recreation officers at local level

    • ORV, snowmobile and marine enforcement as well as safety education for all three

  • Strong support for having ORV safety training materials on the internet


  • County road commission manager survey fall 2004
    County Road Commission Manager Survey: Fall 2004

    • 33(59%) of 56 counties north of Bay City to Muskegon line responded

      • 17 (52%) no ORVs on county road shoulder

        • Concerns about safety, liability, increased road maintenance costs

      • 6 (18%) some county shoulders open to ORVs to connect trails

        • Maintain balance, connect trails, promote tourism, cooperate with ORV clubs

      • 10 (30%) all county road shoulders open to ORV

        • Treat ORVs like snowmobiles, benefits agriculture and tourism, requested by residents/riders, high demand

    • 15% are reconsidering existing policy

      • Lots of flux

      • Looking both at opening and closing


    State trail coordinator survey fall 2004
    State Trail Coordinator Survey: Fall 2004

    • State Trail Coordinators

    • 26 (52%) of 50 states respond

      • 6 (23%) have current state ORV plan

      • 25 (96%) of 26 reported some public land riding opportunity

        • 77% had federal land opportunities

        • 73% had state land opportunities

        • 46% had local public land opportunities

      • 52% “closed unless posted open”, 48% “open unless posted closed”

        • Survey was pre-Forest Service policy announcement

    • 80,658 trail miles reported

      • 79% open to all types ORV

      • 17% ATV/cycle only

      • 4% cycle only

      • <1% truck only

    • 42% states had one or more designated scramble areas


    Trail maintenance damage restoration for other states
    Trail Maintenance/Damage Restoration for other States

    • Trail maintenance done by many

      • 69% used non-profits

      • 35% used for-profit contractors

      • 58% states did some/all maintenance

      • 62% had federal maintenance

      • 23% had some local gov. maintenance

    • Environmental damage restoration by fewer

      • 27% states had damage restoration program

      • Used all the above sources to implement


    Law enforcement and fatalities for other states
    Law Enforcement and Fatalities for other States

    • Few states track ORV citations

      • Only 15% of states provided numbers of ORV citations

    • Few provided data on fatalities

      • 40% of states provided data on ORV fatalities, 60% stated they had no info

      • US Consumers Product Safety Commission (2003) reports that 1982-2002

        • 224 people died in ATV accidents in Michigan

        • 5,239 people died nationwide

          • 33% of deaths nationwide were to persons <16

      • Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning (2004) reported that during 1994-2003

        • 2,528 ORV/ATV accidents on Michigan roadways

        • Resulted in 77 fatalities

      • Data available not comparable in quality to snowmobile fatality data which DNR LED investigates and compiles


    2005 national ohv program managers data thanks to chair bob walker mt for compiling
    2005 National OHV Program Managers Data – Thanks to Chair Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Education requirement for ORV use

      • 17 (35%) of states require for some

        • Typically youth

      • 32 (65%) have no educational requirement

    • 26 (53%) have minimum age requirement to operate ORV

      • 23 (47%) no minimum age requirement

      • All states without a minimum age requirement also lack an educational requirement


    Condition of the designated system fall 2004
    Condition of the Designated System: Fall 2004 Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Trail analysts provided majority of data/work

    • 2,705 miles evaluated (inc. Huron-Man. NF des. trails)

      • 1,815 (67%) rated good (meets standards >95%)

      • 844 (32%) rated fair (meets standards 75-95%)

      • 46 (2%) rated poor (meets standards <75%)

    • Key goal is bring all up to good

    • 7 cycle trails, 12 ATV trails, 3 routes need significant improvement

      • Improved brushing, signage, re-routes or boardwalks for wet areas

    • Comparison to 1997 system assessment where 2,097 miles were reviewed

      • 61% good, 27% fair, 13% poor


    Illegal uses
    Illegal Uses Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • 44 (54%) of trails/routes have reported illegal use

      • Main problems are non-designated spur trails

        • Access hunt, fish, private lands, hill climbs

      • Other concerns include

        • Illegal hill climbs

        • Illegal scramble areas

        • Riding in wetlands or on lake/river shorelines

        • Road riding on roads open to SOS vehicles only


    Conflicts
    Conflicts Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • 20 (25%) of 81 trails/routes had reported conflicts

      • Conflicts reported include

        • Between ORV users and others using trail/route system

          • Non-motorized uses

          • Logging vehicles

        • Cycle vs. ATV users on the same trail

        • ORV users vs. neighbors to system

          • Dust, noise, trespass

        • Conflict with oil/gas service personnel


    Orv damage to public lands
    ORV Damage to Public Lands Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Considerable amount away from designated system

      • Many photos submitted with GIS info from DNR field staff

      • Serious concern of forest certification evaluators during MI visits

        • Want to see best management practices fully implemented

      • Current Operations Inventory not well suited to ID such damage

        • Much done during snow cover

      • DNR land managers connect damage away from designated system with some counties opening all county road shoulders to DNR licensed ORVs

        • Provides access to illegal, environmentally sensitive riding locations


    Action recommendations
    Action Recommendations Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Designated System

    • System Maintenance

    • ORV Damage Restoration

    • ORV Safety Education

    • ORV Enforcement

    • ORV Events, Licensing and Administration


    Action recommendations designated system
    Action Recommendations: Designated System Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Upgrade system to all trails/routes to “good” maintenance rating

      • More than 95% of a trail’s mileage meets maintenance standards

      • Implement 2004 assessment trail-by-trail recommendations

    • Develop additional cycle and ATV trail and ORV route and scramble area with partner land managers to meet increasing demand

      • Destination point-to-point and loop routes

      • Parallel ATV or cycle trails in existing trail corridors of influence

      • Fully implement St. Helen’s Motorsport Area development plan

      • Develop one or more new scramble areas


    Action recommendations designated system1
    Action Recommendations: Designated System Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • DNR use nationally recognized Forest Service standards for motorized trail signage

    • Have no net loss of ORV trail quality and quantity from timber management

    • DNR maintain current “closed unless posted open” approach in Lower Peninsula

    • DNR maintain current forest roads open to ORV use without posting in the UP


    Action recommendations designated system2
    Action Recommendations: Designated System Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Encourage local units to target ORV use only to selected county road shoulders

      • Access to designated system

      • Access to goods/services

    • DNR annually monitor the condition of the designated system

      • Use 2004 assessment instrument

    • DNR conduct assessment of ORV use and users every 5 years

      • Include economic impact study


    Action recommendations system maintenance
    Action Recommendations: System Maintenance Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Increase the maximum rate of reimbursement based on 1997 estimated costs including labor + inflation

      • $154 per mile for cycle and ATV trails maintenance

        • Up from current $54 per mile

      • $89 per mile for ORV routes

        • Up from current $40 mile

      • Strictly enforce maintenance standards

    • Explore multi-year and competitive bid options for trail maintenance

    • Open eligibility for trail maintenance grants to for-profit entities


    Action recommendations system maintenance1
    Action Recommendations: System Maintenance Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • DNR to complete regulatory sign plan for each trail

      • Follow Forest Service motorized trail signing standards

      • Limit maintenance cooperator discretion

    • DNR to provide ORV trailhead maintenance throughout snow free months

      • May be contracted, may be internal


    Action recommendations orv damage restoration
    Action Recommendations: ORV Damage Restoration Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Better and more systematically identify ORV damage on public lands

      • Broaden operations inventory to focus on full land stewardship mission

      • Seek partners and provide information conduits for reporting and locating ORV damage

      • Immediate needs, long term systematic approach

  • More efficiently and effectively restore identified environmental damage

    • Use known techniques e.g. agricultural erosion control and wildlife habitat restoration

    • Use timber sale/contract process

    • Administer at the FMFM district level through recreation specialists

      • All have soil and sedimentation control certification

      • All located closer to problem locations than staff

      • Part of district land management team


  • Action recommendations orv safety education
    Action Recommendations: ORV Safety Education Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Use model similar to marine safety education

      • County sheriffs are lead provider, educational and non-profit organizations can also provide

      • Classroom education mandatory with a focus on ORV safety and laws

      • Written, proctored exam mandatory

      • “Hands-on” training/test optional but encouraged

    • County sheriffs, educational and non-profit organizations eligible to apply to and receive ORV Safety Education Fund grants

      • Maximum of $20 per student reimbursement

        • Reimbursement for costs

        • Both classroom and hands-on eligible for reimbursement


    Action recommendations orv safety education1
    Action Recommendations: ORV Safety Education Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • ORV Safety Education certification required of all born on or after December 31, 1988 to ride an ORV on public lands or waters of Michigan

    • DNR Law Enforcement Division to design and implement a system to track ORV fatalities patterned after current snowmobile fatality tracking system

    • DNR comprehensive ORV safety education and training materials available on the internet at the DNR’s website


    Action recommendations orv enforcement
    Action Recommendations: ORV Enforcement Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Strengthen ORV enforcement by:

      • Fund additional MI Cons. Off. patrol at straight time

      • Fund additional sheriff patrol hours and reinstate ORV patrol equipment grants for eligible sheriffs

      • Forest Service becoming eligible to receive ORV enforcement grants for patrol

      • DNR State Parks (Silver Lake SP) becoming eligible to receive ORV enforcement grants for patrol

      • Involve Forest officers in ORV patrol at ORV trailheads to educate riders pre-ride and to provide safety checks

    • Enforce ORV youth certification requirements

      • After ORV safety education classes available in a majority (42) of Michigan counties


    Action recommendations events admin licensing
    Action Recommendations: Events, Admin. & Licensing Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • Enduro Motorcycle Events

      • Locate events at sites of proposed timber harvest (1-2 years out)

    • Program Administration

      • Clarify responsibilities and strengthen working relationships among DNR personnel/divisions involved in ORV program delivery

      • Investigate streamlining grant processes to gain efficiency and cooperators

    • Licensing

      • All ORV licensing should be done through the electronic license system

      • All ORV license dealers shall provide a copy of the ORV rules and safety information to each licensee annually on their purchase of their ORV license


    Plan process forward
    Plan Process Forward Bob Walker (MT) for compiling

    • First set recommendations submitted to DNR 12/21/04

      • Six iterations since that time with FMFM

    • Internal DNR-wide review July-August 2005

    • Public review begins 8/10/05 with ORV Advisory Board presentation

    • Draft plan posted on DNR web site 8/11/05

      • 30 day public comment period beginning 8/11/05

    • Revise draft plan based on public, ORV Advisory Board and DNR review after September 12, 2005

    • Final Draft presented to ORV Advisory Board for endorsement November 9, 2005

    • Final Draft to NRC for information January 2006

      • 30 day public comment period

    • Final Draft to NRC for action February 2006