Houghton and Keweenaw County ATV Trail update

Houghton and Keweenaw County ATV Trail update
In a move that means broader access to recreation opportunities and consistent maintenance of a popular all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced a management partnership for the Houghton and Keweenaw County ATV trail – a 54-mile stretch of trail that runs mostly on private land from Calumet to Copper Harbor in the western Upper Peninsula.

The Keweenaw ATV Trail agreement – which also has the DNR designating the Houghton and Keweenaw County ATV Trail as a restricted ORV route – was signed during the regular meeting of the Natural Resources Commission earlier this month in Ontonagon. 

“The members of the Keweenaw ATV Club should be commended for their perseverance and vision in getting this agreement finalized,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “Because of their willingness to lay the groundwork for a workable plan that addresses maintenance, access and potential funding, many ATV riders will now get the chance to explore some of the U.P.’s most unique and beautiful terrain.”

The Keweenaw ATV Club has already secured written permission from private property owners to manage a limited trail corridor that will be recognized and designated by the state as a restricted ORV route. As part of the agreement, the club will:

  • Provide property owners along the trail with information on trail rules, signs, maintenance and enforcement procedures;
  • Keep the trail properly maintained and signed;
  • Develop and follow a trail management plan that includes safety training for volunteers; and
  • Report all law-enforcement violations to the appropriate county sheriff’s department.

For its part, the DNR will:

  • Include and promote the trail as part of the state’s designated trail system;
  • Consider grant funding requests and provide grant funding, as available, to the club for trail management and maintenance needs;
  • Permit the club to maintain the trail where it crosses state-managed land; and
  • Develop and post to the DNR website a map of the trail. 

According to Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division, this agreement represents the best in seamless trail management.

“This partnership with the Keweenaw ATV Club is great news for recreational trail users, and it’s a smarter use of resources all the way around,” said Olson.

“Michigan has, year-round, one of the best and most-used trail systems found anywhere in the country, and that’s due in large part to the dedicated recreationists who put in their time and energy,” he added.

Ray Chase, secretary-treasurer and general manager of the Keweenaw ATV Club, was instrumental in getting the agreement finalized.

“This agreement represents the culmination of many years of work by members of the Keweenaw ATV Club,” he said. “We are pleased to be working in partnership with the DNR and private landowners and hope to continue this relationship as we develop new trails in the future.”

Learn more about Michigan’s network of trails at www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

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