MARQUETTE — We had a story for you Wednesday about snowmobiles and noise. It mentioned what the law is and what the fine is for violating it. But how is it determined if a sled is too loud?
The Society of Automotive Engineers sets testing standards to monitor all kinds of features in many different types of motorized vehicles. Those vehicles include snowmobiles.
A 2004 SAE standard is used to test snowmobile noise, and the Michigan DNR uses it.
“We follow that right to the T, ” DNR conservation officer Sgt. Ryan Aho said. “If we find a snowmobile that’s in violation, we can test it with our sound meter. We have it calibrated and we have all the documentation; our ducks are all in a row.”
The DNR says riders with machines louder than the 88–decibel state standard risk undoing the state’s partnerships with private landowners that allow the U.P. trail system to be as extensive as it is.
“We have a trail system, (where) you can ride from St. Ignace to the Sault to Keweenaw to Ironwood and back again, and that’s something really special,” DNR recreation specialist Ron Yesney said. “It takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of volunteers, takes a lot of time and effort to make that happen.”
The DNR says that if you’re 500 feet away from a train and its whistle is blasting, you’re hearing a 90-decibel noise. Sustained exposure to that amount of noise increases the risk of hearing loss.