LANSING — The Department of Natural Resources recently invited qualified residents to become volunteer off-road vehicle (ORV) safety education instructors and take part in one of two upcoming instructor academies in May and June.

“Michigan’s more than 3,600 miles of state-designated ORV trails are a big draw for residents and visitors alike,” said Cpl. John Morey of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “With the help of experienced, safety-conscious ORV instructors, the DNR can help ensure that everyone has a good time on the trails.”

All ORV safety education instructors must attend a mandatory, three-day ORV instructor academy, during which they’ll learn instructor policy and procedure, classroom management and teaching concepts. Applicants will also be exposed to basic hands-on, operational skills on off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, utility-terrain vehicles and winching and recovery equipment.

The academy is free of charge to all successful applicants. Current instructors interested in refreshing their skills and knowledge are also encouraged to attend.

There are two ORV instructor academies scheduled for 2013 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on the shore of Higgins Lake in northern Roscommon County: May 31-June 2 and June 14-16.

Each class is limited to 24 students. Each academy is set to run from 1 to 9 p.m. on Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Anyone seeking certification as a DNR volunteer ORV safety education instructor must:

● Be at least 18 years of age;

● Be a high school graduate or possess a graduate equivalency diploma (GED);

● Have no felony convictions;

● Have no misdemeanor convictions within the past three years;

● Have no convictions that resulted in the revocation of OHV operation privileges within the last five years (though other convictions of natural resource law violations are subject to review and may result in the rejection of any application); and

● Maintain a high moral and ethical character.

Individuals interested in teaching students to be safe and responsible ORV users may begin the application process by contacting the DNR Marketing and Outreach Division at 517-335-3418 to request an application. After a background check is conducted on each submitted application, successful applicants will be contacted to schedule attendance at an ORV instructor academy.

For more information on the DNR’s ORV safety education program or instructor academies, contact Cpl. John Morey at 989-619-3784.