Snowmobiling in Upper Peninsula is off to soft start

KEWEENAW PENINSULA — Snowmobiling in the Upper Peninsula is off to a soft start, in what- so far has been a mild UP December.
As snowmobile’s anxiously await more snowfall, the Department of Natural Resources is asking riders to use a little courtesy this riding season, specifically pertaining to how loud your snowmobile is.

Here in the Keweenaw, quiet snowmobiling is a goal for Michigan Tech Students who compete every year to build cleaner and quieter sleds, but many riders prefer a louder snowmobile, and its something that has prompted the DNR to reach out to snowmobile’s and ask them to quite down.

A lot of riders are putting (what are called) “cans” on their machines. They can basically pass a decibel test but the loud noise complaints from the loud cans .. it really gives snowmobiling a bad name. It really undermines a lot of the good will that property owners have extended to the DNR and to snowmobile clubs and to individuals that are out there enjoying the sport.
Just like the rest of the state, the snowmobile trail system in the Keweenaw is made up of a combination of state owned land, and private property where landowners have agreed to allow a trail to pass through their property. Pepin fears that Loud snowmobiles could put such agreements in jeopardy.
When trails are involved, land owners have revoked easements and it leaves us with a gap or sometimes we’ve got no choice but to shut down snowmobile trail segments, which diminishes opportunities for everyone.
So the DNR is asking snowmobile’s to remove any aftermarket exhaust systems that would make the sled louder than permitted by law.
We’re asking riders to use only stock exhaust on their machines, and also if you’re riding on the trail system- stay on the trail. If you’re not riding on the trail system- there’s the “Know before you go.” Know before you go whether or not the land is public or not.
Information on snowmobiling land access, and other related laws including sound limits can be found at
Everybody can help to maintain this great sport because just one loud sled can undo a lot of goodwill that has been done.
The Department says they will be monitoring sled levels, but would prefer rider compliance rather than issuing citations.
There’s going to be some stepped up enforcement of these loud exhaust complaints. Enforcement is something that is important, but we’re kind of looking more toward voluntary compliance from the riders because this is something that benefits everybody and it’s something that everybody can do themselves just by taking it upon themselves to stay off of private property, stay on public land, know before you go whether or not the land is public or not, and to take those loud cans and exhaust pipes off your sled.