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ORV photo shoot near Baldwin, Michigan in the Manistee National Forest

Ride Right’ for safe, responsible, off-road fun

Three ORVs drive safely on the right side of a dirt forest trail.Off-road vehicles are fun year-round, but ORV activity ramps up in spring and summer as people head to Michigan trails and ORV scramble areas to enjoy world-class riding experiences.  Keeping safety in mind is vital on any ride, for you and others. According to 2023 statewide ORV crash data, 93% of ORV fatalities could have been prevented. These crashes were primarily due to excessive speed and a lack of helmet/seat belt use.“Always ride within your and the machine’s capabilities,” said Cpl. Mike Hearn, DNR law enforcement ORV and snowmobile specialist. “When operators ride too fast, they are more likely to lose control when they hit even the smallest bump, try to make turns or stop. Riding sober and at a safe speed are the best ways to stay safe.” All ORV operators are urged to “Ride Right” and keep this important guidance in mind: Operate within the limits of your ORV and your own capabilities. Ride at a safe speed. Ride sober. Ride on the right side of the trail. Keep lights on when riding. Always wear a helmet. Do your part to ensure everyone returns home safely; read more about ORV safety at For more on where to ride and ORV laws in Michigan, visit
JW Wells State Park, Summer 2023 Photos taken by Tyler Leipprandt in cooperation with the MI DNR. Credit goes to Tyler Leiprandt and Michigan Sky Media LLC.

Before you strike that match, take steps to keep your fire contained

An adult cooks a meal over a fire ring in a state park while two other companions watch in lawn chairs.Summer is the season of grills, campfires, sparklers and fireworks, and with hotter, dryer weather comes fire season. To protect people, wildlife and landscapes, it’s important to follow fire safety tips and be prepared in case your fire does something unpredictable. Here are some basic safety guidelines:  When making a campfire, build it in a ring or pit. Never leave a fire unattended, even for a moment. When you’re done, douse your fire thoroughly with water, stir and douse again.When using fireworks, keep a hose handy and make sure to soak used sparklers in water before discarding them. Never shoot fireworks into dry grass, brush or trees. When barbecuing, never leave the grill unattended and keep a water source nearby.If you are planning work, not play, for your holiday weekend, make sure your yard cleanup is safe. When towing trailers or equipment, ensure tow chains don’t drag and cause sparks, and avoid using heavy machinery like lawnmowers in dry areas. Always keep a water source handy.Debris burning is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan. Check whether burn permits are being issued or if weather conditions allow for safe burning before you burn. Check the burn permit page or call 866-922-BURN (866-922-2876) for more information.
Use firewise landscaping tips at home, too, to maintain a safe space around your house. Trim low branches, remove dead vegetation and keep firewood piles a safe distance away.Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people. If you see a fire grow out of control, call 911 immediately. Swift action can save lives.
DSC_0987 Smoke and flames rise from the underbrush during a May 8, 2018 prescribed burn at Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County.

ICYMI: Tips to stay healthy during poor air quality days

Smoke clouds the air in a dry prairie.The 2024 North American wildfire season is underway and warmer weather is increasing the risk of higher ozone levels.In case you missed it, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is suggesting Michigan residents take steps to protect themselves from risks related to poor air quality.Monitor the air quality index on the AirNow website, or sign up for alerts through the EnviroFlash system. Keep an eye on the news and weather and be prepared in case of smoke.Before a wildfire smoke event, MDHHS recommends you: Familiarize yourself with your forced air HVAC system or your window air conditioning unit. If it has a fresh-air intake or outdoor air damper, you will need to close it during a smoke event.  Ensure you have replacement air filters that are rated MERV-13 or higher. Consider purchasing a portable air cleaner. If you don’t have one, you can make a do-it-yourself air filter.  Help neighbors and family members plan for possible wildfire smoke. If you have asthma or other respiratory illnesses, heart disease, diabetes or another health condition that may make you more sensitive to wildfire smoke, talk to your health care provider ahead for guidance. Children under 18, anyone over the age of 60, pregnant people and outdoor workers are also more at risk. Talk to your health care provider ahead of time to make a plan. Find more information on the MDHHS Your Health and Wildfire Smoke page.
busy day at Muskegon State park beach

Brush up on Great Lakes beach safety tips

A crowd of beachgoers sprawls across a shoreline, mingling in the water and on the sand.Summer temperatures are here, and the water is calling! Many state parks, but not all, offer swim areas identified by buoys or markers, a beach flag warning system and water depth less than 5 feet at the time of installation. Before you jump in, make sure to keep safety in mind, especially on big water. Remember the Great Lakes are large, powerful water systems that hold more than 20% of the world’s fresh water. Strong currents can catch even the most experienced swimmer off guard.To keep everyone safe, follow these must-know tips: Check weather conditions and beach flags in buoyed swim areas (double-red flags = water access closed, red flag = high hazard, yellow flag = medium hazard, green flag = low hazard). By law, you cannot enter the water from the beach when double-red flags are flying or if otherwise directed.  Choose buoyed swim areas located in state parks. Swim areas offer additional safety measures and visual cautions. It’s important to note that not all state parks have designated swim areas.  Never swim alone, especially children. Keep close watch on children and weaker swimmers: Stay within arm’s reach, have them wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, be conscious of their limits and take breaks frequently. Be aware of water temperatures. Water can be much colder than the ambient air temperature might suggest, especially in larger bodies of water like the Great Lakes. Sudden immersion and/or sustained time in cold water can cause cold shock, making it hard to breathe and increasing your risk of drowning.Learn more about these beach safety tips, including information about the benefits of buoyed swim areas, the beach flag warning system, how to spot (and escape) Great Lakes currents and more at


If you haven’t already done so, this is just a friendly little reminder from your MI-TRALE Membership Committee to please send in your Membership Renewal Dues for 2024.

Your Membership dollars are crucial to our being able to maintain and improve our trails in the excellent condition that we do for safe and premium riding for all trail riding enthusiasts that travel our trails throughout the year in our beautiful section of the Western UP of Michigan.

As a “Thank You for your Membership, you receive MI-TRALEs 2024 colorful Membership Decal, (to proudly display on your ATV!), your 2024 MI-TRALE Membership Card and a copy of our paper trails map. (Don’t forget you can always use our Map App: MICHIGAN UP TRAILS.)

Renewal is easy! You can go to our website:  HYPERLINK “”, select the CLUB STUFF tab/Membership option and it will give you all the information you need. You can renew there via PayPal or print out the application form, fill it out, and mail it in with your check to the address shown above ATTN: MEMBERSHIP. If you should have any other questions, please contact Membership Chair Cathy Wainio at:  HYPERLINK “

We truly appreciate your continued Membership and loyalty to MI-TRALE. Without your funds we wouldn’t be able to keep on doing all that we do to have such awesome trails. Thank you for your support.


MI-TRALE Membership Committee

Below are the snowmobile and the ORV permits and use through January 2024.

2024 Snowmobile season (2023-2024) sales is lowest in 5 years so far for obvious reasons.

The ORV stickers sales while decreasing the last four years is still up from 2020. Trail use is actually up from the previous year some but a decline from the high-point report year dated 2021. PLEASE NOTE: Sales and use under 2024 is actually 2023 use/sales (and so on). Seasonal overlap is at minimal by the state reporting these numbers end of January

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, the resident Recreation Passport vehicle fee increases from $13 to $14, while the cost for motorcycles will not change.

The Recreation Passport is valid for 12 months when purchased at time of license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State. Although some residents have already received their registration renewal notices (reflecting the old fee), the new rate takes effect Jan. 1 for all in-person and online transactions.

There’s a $5 convenience fee (except for Belle Isle Park) when the Recreation Passport is not purchased at the time of license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State, and is instead purchased at a state park or recreation area.

The nonresident Recreation Passport fee annual pass also will increase slightly, from $39 to $40, but the nonresident daily pass will stay at $11.

The monies generated by the Recreation Passport goes into a restricted fund that supports state park infrastructure and operations, a local grant program for community recreation agencies, state forest campgrounds, nonmotorized pathways and trails, cultural and historic resource restoration, and marketing and promotion.

The moderate fee change is the result of a statutory provision that ensures Recreation Passport funding keeps pace with the economy. Basically, the law says that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources does not determine the cost of the Recreation Passport; instead, adjustments are based on the Detroit Consumer Price Index, as determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fishing on Frenchmans Lake, Mackinac Co.

A real recreation value

DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson said that at just over a dollar per month, the Passport remains a great deal that delivers.

“Michigan’s state park system is largely self-supporting, with the Recreation Passport playing a key role,” Olson said. “Approximately 97% of state parks funding is generated by user fees, including the Recreation Passport, and royalty revenues. Just 3% comes from Michigan’s General Fund tax dollars.”

The Recreation Passport provides year-round vehicle access to 103 Michigan state parks and recreation areas, 1,300-plus state-managed boating access sites, 140 state forest campgrounds, and parking at thousands of miles of trails and other outdoor spaces, while helping protect the state’s natural resources for future generations.

Even at $14, the new resident Recreation Passport fee is more than 40% lower than the $24 people routinely paid in 2010 for the state parks window sticker – the program that the Recreation Passport replaced. Compared against the cost of annual state park passes in other states – Indiana ($50), Minnesota ($35), New York ($80) and Wisconsin ($28), for example – Olson said Michigan’s Recreation Passport is an undeniable bargain he hopes even more people will discover.

DNR celebrates reopening of Dollar Bay to Lake Linden trail segment


Deputy public information officer

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Supporters and partners joined the Michigan Department of Natural Resources today in Houghton County to celebrate the reopening of a roughly 8-mile segment of snowmobile and off-road vehicle trail devastated by a historic storm in 2018.

In what is likely the Michigan DNR’s largest trail repair project, $10.5 million was spent for work that took contributions of time, money and expertise from numerous sources and years to complete.

“The bottom line of why we do this stuff and why we spend the money and the resources and that’s to provide people with an enrichment and in the end it’s lifelong memories,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “’Cause when you ride down a trail like this, what you remember is what’s important and the experience that you have.”

Olson said the trail also provides opportunities beyond economic benefits and tourism for improved health and well-being. He said a trail outing can help reduce stress.

“You can ease yourself and you can enjoy yourself and forget about some of the problems of the day,” Olson said.

The Father’s Day flood in June 2018 dumped 7 inches of rain over the Houghton-Hancock area in the span of only a few hours.

Coupled with the steep terrain of the surrounding hills, the rain rushing downhill washed out or plugged numerous culverts and damaged or destroyed roads, homes, streets, trails and other places where the water sought its level.

Among these features was the Dollar Bay to Lake Linden segment of Trail No. 3, which was constructed from a decommissioned railroad line.

In the wake of the historic storm, repair work was needed at 171 sites along the 7.8 miles of recreation trail. Just over 100 culverts needed to be replaced and 34 major washouts needed repair.

“Some of the washouts were 80-feet deep and 240-feet across,” said Ron Yesney, Upper Peninsula trails coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division.

The damage to this part of the trail was so great that many feared the trail segment might never be rebuilt. But with the help and considerable efforts of several state agencies, lawmakers and other partners, the nearly $11 million project to reopen the trail has now been realized.

“Getting this project engineered and constructed was a monumental task,” Yesney said. “I’m real proud of the effort to restore this trail and I am thankful to all those who participated in the reconstruction.”

Speakers at today’s ribbon-cutting commemoration, along the trail in Dollar Bay, included Olson, Yesney and DNR U.P. Field Deputy Stacy Welling-Haughey and state 110th District Rep. Greg Markkanen, Daryl St. John of the Keweenaw ATV Club and Ryan LaPorte of the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club.

“This trail is just incredible,” Markkanen said. “I want to commend the DNR for their commitment to this project, and they finally get it done, everyone’s here today, it’s just a very emotional moment.”

Markkanen also praised the “phenomenal” work done by construction crews on the trail restoration project.

He applauded restored access to recreation opportunities going north from Dollar Bay to Lake Linden.

“It’s so important to our economy, to our local businesses, to our groups and to our communities as a whole,” Markkanen said.

Those gathered for the ceremony stood on the trail behind a red ribbon drawn tautly to be cut by St. John in celebration of the trail work’s completion.

“Everyone here had something to do with this, please come and stand here with us,” Haughey said.

About 60 people attended the event.

Funding for the $10.5 million project was derived from numerous sources, including $4 million in a state general fund appropriation allocated through the Michigan Economic Development Corp., $2 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, $2.1 million from state ORV funds compiled from fiscal years beginning in 2018, $1.5 million in federal Land and Water Conservation Fund granting and $.5 million in snowmobile program money.

DNR partners on the project included the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, B&B Contracting, DP Construction, Bacco Construction Co., MD Contracting, Blue Line Sit Solutions and OHM Advisors.

Find out more about Michigan’s thousands of miles of recreational trails.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles, sign up for free email delivery at

Trail counts are in for 2023. While we see a year to year steady flow of riders we are also seeing busier weeks throughout the year Below are the monthly counts for 2023 and a Pie chart of the trails compared to each other. We know that Twin Lakes is a heavy use area and the we are also seeing a steady flow from Wisconsin-Maybe more than from Iron River/Crystal Falls area.

Feel free to reach out to the club if you have any additional data you would like to know such as weekly or a specific date.

MonthLL – SouthPSB EastSB-WestSL-EastTwin Lakes

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferencesNews ReleaseSpotted lanternfly billboard. "See it. Squish it. Report it."Sept. 19, 2023
Invasive spotted lanternfly:
See it. Squish it. Report it.
Now is the prime time to be on the lookout for the invasive spotted lanternfly! Late summer to early fall is the most likely season to spot the colorful planthoppers, and the departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development are urging Michiganders to report any potential sightings of these destructive invasive pests.An adult spotted lanternfly, with wings closed, rests on the palm of an open hand.“We’ve heard reports of spotted lanternflies swarming New York City and covering beaches on the Jersey Shore. We’d like to prevent similar scenarios in Michigan,” said Rob Miller, MDARD’s invasive species prevention and response specialist. “Everyone can help by looking for spotted lanternfly and reporting suspected sightings.”The spotted lanternfly spreads to new locations by hitchhiking or laying eggs on vehicles and equipment that have traveled through infested areas. If you are returning from out of state, it’s important to look for and destroy spotted lanternfly insects and egg masses that may be hiding on cars, trailers, firewood, camping gear or anything that’s been outside.The Michigan Invasive Species Program’s new campaign – “See it. Squish it. Report it.” – reminds Michiganders and visitors of the simple steps they can take to prevent new introductions of spotted lanternflies in the state.“If you see a spotted lanternfly, yes, we really do want you to squish it if you can. Then, take a photo or two and report it to us through the online Eyes in the Field reporting system,” said Miller. “It’s important to get to know what the spotted lanternfly looks like, though, because we don’t want to target harmless native insects with pretty wings.”Billboards along major freeways and print material available through Michigan’s cooperative invasive species management areas were developed with support from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.How to spot the spotted lanternflyAn infographic showing the life stages of the spotted lanternfly from egg mass to adult.Take a few minutes to become familiar with spotted lanternfly life stages.Adults are roughly 1 inch long. Their folded wings are gray to brown with black spots. Open wings reveal a yellow and black abdomen and bright red hind wings with black spots, transitioning to black and white bands at the edge. Most visible August through October.Egg masses resemble old chewing gum, with a gray, waxy, putty-like coating. Hatched eggs appear as brownish, seed-like deposits. Most visible September through May.Nymphs are about 1/4  inch to 1/2 inch long. They are wingless and beetle-like, first appearing black with white spots and developing red patches as they mature. Most visible May through September.Be aware of look-alikesPublic reports to Eyes in the Field have helped identify some insects commonly mistaken for the spotted lanternfly.Several native moth species have red underwings, but their upper wings are striped or mottled.Some insects have spotted wings that are translucent or differ in color from spotted lanternfly adults.Common insects including boxelder bugs and red milkweed beetles have similar colors and patterns as spotted lanternfly nymphs, but their shapes are distinct.To better identify spotted lanternfly life stages and rule out look-alikes,

VISIT the spotted lanternfly look-alike page.

Status in Michigan Currently, there is one confirmed population of spotted lanternflies in Michigan. The infested site, a county-owned parcel in Pontiac, is being managed by a team including Oakland County, MDARD, Michigan State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service staff. Management includes treatment and/or removal of invasive tree of heaven – spotted lanternfly’s preferred host – and regular survey and monitoring of the insect population. Extensive surveys in August found no evidence of spotted lanternfly spreading beyond the originally infested site.Why be concerned?The spotted lanternfly feeds on more than 70 different plants, including grape vines and hardwood trees. It sucks sap from host plants while secreting large amounts of a sugar-rich, sticky liquid called honeydew. This honeydew and the resulting black sooty mold can kill plants and foul surfaces. The honeydew often attracts other pests like yellow jackets, flies and ants, affecting outdoor recreation and complicating crop harvests. Swarms of spotted lanternfly adults can reach nuisance levels that hinder outdoor activities.More information on the spotted lanternfly, including identification, look-alike species and how to report, is available at’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development./Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows. Billboard: These “See it. Squish it. Report it.” campaign billboards are showing up along Michigan freeways.SLF hand: Spotted lanternflies are more likely to be seen with wings folded. Look for grey to brown wings with black spots, and black-striped wing tips. Photo courtesy of MDARD.SLF wings: Adult spotted lanterfly’s bright wing coloration is hidden when wings are closed. Photo courtesy of Robert Gardner, egg mass: Spotted lanternflies may lay egg masses on vehicles, outdoor furniture or other items that can be transported to new areas, leading to new infestations. Photo courtesy of Emilie Swackhammer, Penn State University, early nymph: Early stage spotted lanternfly nymphs are black with white spots on their bodies and legs. Photo courtesy of Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State University, late nymph: Late stage spotted lanternfly nymphs are red and black with white spots on their bodies and legs. Photo courtesy of Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State University, Logo 24 bit PNGDept of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy logoMDARD Logo

FOR more info visit

BECOME A 2024 MEMBERNew or Renewal

MEMBERSHIP TIMEFrom the MI-TRALE Membership Committee

We have begun our annual membership drive. Membership renewal applications for 2024 will be sent out via post mail soon. Applications can also be found on the MI-TRALE Web Page: for New or renewal members.

Your support is very important and much appreciated. Your membership helps to cover administrative and trail maintenance costs and the equipment needed to maintain nearly 600 miles of various types of trails. Feel free to share the contact information from the Membership Application with your friends, and any businesses, that you think would like to support the trails. You will find more information on the MI-TRALE website under the Club Stuff tab/Membership option.

Members will receive a “welcome package” to convey our thanks: the attractive 2024 decal that you can proudly display on your ORV to show your support, your membership card and a free MI-TRALE paper Trails Map. You can also find MI-TRALEs popular Map App, Michigan UP Trails, in Google Play, the APP Store, Android or iOS. All of MI-TRALEs members are notified via email of our monthly meetings. They are very informative and also open to the public.

You might want to consider how else you could become involved with MI-TRALE. We can always use your help to keep this vital trail group moving forward for future generations of trail enthusiasts. Visit our webpage, (, to learn more. Please feel free to contact us if you need more information. Thank you for your interest and support of the recreational trails here in the beautiful Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We could not do this without you!

Here are just a few of the successful projects accomplished, due to your support:

  • Allocated $1.6 million from the DNR for Trail Maintenance in the last 8 years, all monies come from ORV License fees.
  • Brushing and Signing 300+ miles of DNR designated trails and 200+ miles of Club trails.
  • Representing you on all Governmental Levels: Local, State & Federal
  • Annual Senior Citizen Fall Color ORV Tour.
  • Annual S.P.O.R.T (State Park Off Road Trek) Ride.
  • Developing, Signing and Mapping new trails for all types of recreational users.
  • Development of the FREE Map App & paper Map showing 500+ miles of MI-TRALE maintained trails & over 2,200 miles of Ottawa National Forest roads for ORV use.
  • We have also completed the long-awaited improvements on the Courtney Equestrian Trails and at the Courtney Lake Campground. More updates are in the works for 2024!

Your membership is very important to MI-TRALE. We truly appreciate you and all the support we receive from every single one of our members and volunteers. We hope you will join us for another great year of trail riding in the beautiful Western Upper Peninsula!

SHORELINE RIDE: Lake Superior Shore Misery Bay DUE TO EROSION THIS IS NOT A VIABLE OPTION FOR RIDING AT THIS TIME.   We will keep you posted as seasonal storms often recreate and rearrange the scape of the shoreline, and it may once again offer a beautiful favorite destination to ride in the future. Please enjoy one of our other suggested rides or one of your favorites and enjoy the wonderful U.P. outdoors.