State Reps seek to open areas for ORV access

Off River Vehicle riders will have an easier time getting around if legislation from two area state representatives is approved.

State Reps. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, and Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, have introduced legislation to allow ORV riders to ride on the shoulder of state highways in order to continue on trails and to allow more counties to decide whether they would allow riders to ride on the shoulder of local roads.

“Right now, no ORV usage is allowed on state trunklines,” Johnson said. “We have situations on M-30, going through Galdwin county, where you have a road coming from the east, and if you want to continue going east, you have to go anywhere from 300 to 3000 feet before continuing on the road going east again.

“This would allow these link-ups. Make it possible for people to continue to their destination, lot of reason doing these things for tourism, and if that state trunkline stops their progress.”

Under current law, only counties north of Gratiot and Newaygo can decide whether to allow ORVs to ride on local roads. Bumstead said so far, he there have been no problems in the counties that decided to allow riders.

“They opened up northern Michigan 5 or 6 years ago, no problems and it makes very good economic sense, another tier across central Michigan, very little trouble, once implemented, very little trouble with it, put in a bill to open up rest of state

JOEL JOHNSON, R-CLARE:

Right now, no ORV usage allowed on state trunklines. We have situations on M-30, going through Galdwin county, where you have a road coming from the east, and if you want to continue going east, go anywhere from 300 to 3000 feet before continuing on road going east again, currently not approved.

Its worked out well, other counties saying ‘hey why can’t we do this’

Particularly with my bill, they like the fact that we’ve not lefted them out of the picture, so the local govt can decide what they want to do, then they can get MDOt to review and they have the last say so.

Folks in Gladwin came to me, and said.

It’s a common sense thing, brought about because of an issue that needed fixing.

Been working on it for a few months, and the plan is, with this, we would allow link-ups for county roads that are currently cleared for ORV usage on the shoulders, that there could be linkups done on state highways, if plan submitted to MDOT by county govt and department approves it.

JON BUMSTEAD, R-NEWAYGO

Very simple, I thought, they opened up northern Michigan 5 or 6 years ago, no problem, very good economic, another tiera cross central Michigan, very little trouble, once implemented, very little trouble with it, put in a bill to open up rest of state

County, townships, or specific roads in township, in sourthern mich large farming community, ability to cross the road, right now with licensed ORV, not legal to cross roads

Good local control issue, if population too high in an area, don’t have to open it up.

“X” of dollars with the fee go to road maintenance, ORV sticker price can go to road repair and law, always have a bad apple or two regardless of opening the roads, prosecute if, if you open it you can.

Right now in the state, everyone pays 16.25, 26.25, if ride groom trails, total of 36.25, still be 26.25 just because of opening up rest of state, put money into roads and alw enforcement, trying to get system throughout lower peninsula, get s a little pricey, all ORV organizations on board, they want to bring the fee to same as snowmobile, which is $45, want to see trails groomed, the user groups have been

The ORV, looking at a couple million dollars. In Lake County alone, two trail groomers, by time you groom whole route, about $250k, clubs do it for free, everyone wants to ride on groomed trails, economically its really been a boom for counties up north. With sourthern Michigan, open up going along trails.

Still can’t ride on M-road, south of Baldwin, two rivers, no way to get point a to point b without going 30 miles around, two mile section could go along right away.

With the license fee for hunting and fishing fee, should be signed by governor pretty soon, had all user groups at table when we wrote that too, hear a few complaints, fi I sit down and show costs and what the money is earmarked, cant go into genaerl fund, every user group ther for 6 months to try to iron out, no adjustment to fees since 1994, some $5 higher, other a little lower.

Another bill, gonna be a great bill with marketing and sales through DNR, dollar from every hunting and fishing license, hire professional firms, Colorado has this program. What hunters and fishers do for the economy, DNR does a lot of good things, marketing not one of their strong suits. Will be second state in the country to implement something like this.