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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 27, 2005

Governor Granholm Signs Legislation to Expand Trail Access for Snowmobiles
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation that will allow snowmobiles to operate on some limited access highways in Michigan under the discretion of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“This legislation will not only expand access to trails for snowmobile operators, but will also benefit Michigan communities whose local economies rely on tourism,” Granholm said.


Currently, snowmobiles are allowed to operate in the right-of-way on public highways that are not limited access if it has been designated a snowmobile trail by the DNR and approved by MDOT. Senate Bill 161 (Public Act 307), signed by Granholm, expands this process to limited access highways. Additionally, the bill establishes a process by which the DNR and MDOT can prohibit snowmobile use on any highway, but only if a demonstrable threat to public safety exists.


In December, 2004, Granholm vetoed similar legislation. At the time, she expressed her support for expanding recreational opportunities for snowmobile enthusiasts, but asked the legislature to provide a comprehensive approach to the issue that balanced the interests of snowmobiles, landowners and motor vehicles in a way that ensured the safety of all parties.


“I am pleased that all of the interested parties were able to work together to forge a compromise that helps local economies, expands recreational opportunities and protects public safety,” said Granholm.

Michigan is home to almost 400,000 registered snowmobiles and nearly a quarter million trail permit holders.


Senate Bill 161 was sponsored by Senator Jason Allen (R-Traverse City).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Waterfoul said:
So when can we start riding across the Big Mac?? LOL!!

so where are these proposed trails? I'm going to assume along the 23 and 75 corridors near gaylord/grayling
That is what I have been told. MDOT and the DNR still have to sort out the details so I'm sure we will hear more about this later on (probably next season).

As far as the Big Mac goes......you first. I'll follow. :lol:
 

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Highway right-of-way law benefits snowmobilers

http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/grpress/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/113715811236920.xml&coll=6

Friday, January 13, 2006 By Howard Meyerson Press Outdoors Editor

A new law that gives the state more flexibility in deciding future routes for snowmobile trails was signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm over the holidays.

And though snowmobilers and northern Michigan businesses are pleased with the outcome, others are concerned about inaccurate media reports and public misunderstanding.

"There has been some concern that this opens up the right-of-ways on highways. It doesn't," said Joe Agostinelli, legislative assistant to Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, whose legislation just was signed into law as Public Act 307.

"It doesn't give you or I the authority to drive down I-75 tomorrow (on a snowmobile), but it does give us a way if the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources decide to design and develop a trail plan."

What PA 307 does is two things, Agostinelli said.

It will allow snowmobiles to run on an interstate highway right-of-way if the segment is designated as a groomed state snowmobile trail by the DNR and has MDOT approval.

It also allows the two state agencies to prohibit snowmobile use on right-of-ways along roads if certain conditions are met. The state lacked authority to do either before the law was passed.

"There is no real application for this right now," said Bill Manson, the legislative director for the Michigan Snowmobile Association.

"But it is being misunderstood. I don't see snowmobiles running along the bike trail of I-275, nor putting a trail up I-75, but there are some instances where a segment could help get from national forest to national forest, or from one trail to another.

"When we first started working on it, we thought it might be a partial fix for the Gaylord-to-Cheboygan Trail (where proposed trail routes were denied by the DNR for safety and environmental reasons and I-75 right-of-ways were suggested as an alternative).

"U.S. 131 was also being built around Cadillac and previous legislation said snowmobiles were not allowed on limited-access highways."

State trail planners say the new law simply does away with that historic obstacle. The new law also requires riders to travel single-file rather than abreast on any limited-access highway segment that would be built in the future.

"It's an opportunity for future trail proposals, but there is nothing in the boiling pot right now," said Jim Radabaugh, the state trails coordinator with the DNR.

The new law also allows the DNR and MDOT to close road right-of-ways to snowmobiles if there are proven safety issues. But the agencies will be required to notify the public and state snowmobile advisory committee, hold public hearings and designate an alternative route to provide access to businesses that get cut off by the closure.

"Our fear was that M-72 between Kalkaska and Grayling might suddenly be considered a safety concern by someone and suddenly every gas station, motel and restaurant in between is affected," said Manson.

Agostinelli said the Upper Peninsula town of Paradise is another example. It is a birdwatcher's haven in warmer months and snowmobiling haven in the winter. It would be put out of business if the highway right-of-way suddenly was closed to snowmobiles.

"Snowmobiling is its only economic engine in winter time," he said.
 

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Waterfoul said:
I'm going to assume along the 23 and 75 corridors near gaylord/grayling

23 ain't nowhere near Gaylord or Grayling. 23 runs the east side lakeshore from Standish up through Alpena.
 
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