DNR reminds residents of snowmobile trail regulations

Courtesy:  Michigan DNR

MARQUETTE — With heavy snow on the ground in the Upper Peninsula and parts of the northern Lower Peninsula, the Department of Natural Resources reminds snowmobilers that while state trails on private property remain closed to riding until Monday, Dec. 1, other areas are currently open for snowmobile use.

“We’re hearing from hunters and snowmobilers, wondering if they can legally use snowmobiles to reach their hunting camps or to just get out and ride earlier than normal,” said DNR District 1 law supervisor Lt. Peter Wright. “There are many areas where riding is allowed before Dec. 1, with additional exceptions in place for hunters trying to reach their camps.”

Prior to Dec. 1 each year, licensed and registered snowmobilers can legally use state lands, forest roads and snowmobile trails on public lands provided firearm deer season “quiet hours” are observed.

Firearm season quiet hours, which prohibit the use of off-road vehicles or snowmobiles on public hunting land from 7 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m., are effective Nov. 15 through Nov. 30.

However, ORVs or snowmobiles may be used on public hunting lands during quiet hours to reach a hunting camp or permanent residence inaccessible by conventional motor vehicle. The quiet hours are also waived for an emergency, to retrieve a legally taken deer, or for hunters with disabilities.

“These exceptions to the quiet hours ensure that hunters are able to enjoy the firearm season, no matter what the weather brings,” Wright said. “Provided snowmobilers stay off state trails on private land, there are many legal options for snowmobile use before Dec. 1.”

The entire state snowmobile trail system is open to riders annually from Dec. 1 to March 31, to coincide with seasonal access leases for state trails that utilize private land.

For more information regarding snowmobile use and regulations, contact Lt. Wright at 906-228-6561 or visit www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.