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Old June 26th, 2008, 03:16 AM   #1
Mclovin
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Default School me on trails ?

Seriously.. Trail Markers what am i looking for ? how do i know for sure im wheeling legally ?where can i park my tow rig ? etc..

I feel rediculous asking these question but id feel even more rediculous making the community look bad or getting a ticket from DNR because i didnt inform myself. i looked around the archives here for a bit before poting this got A LOT better idea if what im doing when i hit the state trails but still airey on those areas.. I would appriciate the answers guys
waiting for trail fanatic or K8ybfwhatever to key in ..
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:14 AM   #2
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On state land, we're confined to ORV Routes for 50"+ width, power lines, stream crossings illegal, snowmobile trails(orange diamond) supposedly off limits too, nearly every hill with any marking/erosion at all has been closed. ORV sticker only needed for parks such as Silver Lake, Mounds, St. Helens and Bull Gap. Good to have one anyway.
As to Natty Forest land, the Huron has a MVUM established and venturing off designated
open areas can bring fines. You don't have to see clues such as stump piles, gates or signs anymore.
As to the Manistee, open til it's plan comes out in '09 for which some are helping out with the KOTARO gps mapping
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Old June 26th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #3
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Upchuck has pretty much got it. Anything that has Orange Confidence markers on it (orange TRIANGLES) not the diamond snowmobile ones are fair game in 4WD. Any other forest road that is traversable in a 'conventianl 2wd passenger vehicle designed for highway use' is also OK. You can't use the excuse that your truck was 'ONLY IN 2WD'. That won't fly with the DNR.
The one clarification that we're working on is: Any trail that difficult to get down due to 'weather or temporary conditions'. We GLFWDA have earlier documentation indicating this was acceptable use for 4WD but have yet to recieve a response from the DNR on our question.
The one confusiong area still seem to be a forest road marked with 'ORV TRAIL' markers. Just because it has 'TRAIL MARKERS' alone does NOT make it illegal for full size vehicles to be there. The explaination is bit long winded and I've said it numerous times already so I'll defer unless there's a real need to dredge this up again.

The cliff notes version for State land is this:
1. Orange Route markers= anything is OK
2. Orange Trail markers = anything OK as long as you fit.
3. No markers= 2WD only so long as you fit.
4. Stay off powerlines unless marked like #1
5. Snow covered roads = OK in 4WD but road must be 2WD in summer (This is the grey area right now)
6. Must be 'State of Michigan' land not private.

Tow rig no more than 50' from roadway. (This used to be in the law but I'd have to go see if it's still there. Usually not much is said unless you're WAY off in the field)

jim-kb8ymf

Last edited by kb8ymf; June 26th, 2008 at 01:59 PM.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upchuck View Post
On state land, we're confined to ORV Routes for 50"+ width, power lines, stream crossings illegal, snowmobile trails(orange diamond) supposedly off limits too, nearly every hill with any marking/erosion at all has been closed. ORV sticker only needed for parks such as Silver Lake, Mounds, St. Helens and Bull Gap. Good to have one anyway.
As to Natty Forest land, the Huron has a MVUM established and venturing off designated
open areas can bring fines. You don't have to see clues such as stump piles, gates or signs anymore.
As to the Manistee, open til it's plan comes out in '09 for which some are helping out with the KOTARO gps mapping
Quote:
Originally Posted by kb8ymf View Post
Upchuck has pretty much got it. Anything that has Orange Confidence markers on it (orange TRIANGLES) not the diamond snowmobile ones are fair game in 4WD. Any other forest road that is traversable in a 'conventianl 2wd passenger vehicle designed for highway use' is also OK. You can't use the excuse that your truck was 'ONLY IN 2WD'. That won't fly with the DNR.
The one clarification that we're working on is: Any trail that difficult to get down due to 'weather or temporary conditions'. We GLFWDA have earlier documentation indicating this was acceptable use for 4WD but have yet to recieve a response from the DNR on our question.
The one confusiong area still seem to be a forest road marked with 'ORV TRAIL' markers. Just because it has 'TRAIL MARKERS' alone does NOT make it illegal for full size vehicles to be there. The explaination is bit long winded and I've said it numerous times already so I'll defer unless there's a real need to dredge this up again.

The cliff notes version for State land is this:
1. Orange Route markers= anything is OK
2. Orange Trail markers = anything OK as long as you fit.
3. No markers= 2WD only so long as you fit.
4. Stay off powerlines unless marked like #1
5. Snow covered roads = OK in 4WD but road must be 2WD in summer (This is the grey area right now)
6. Must be 'State of Michigan' land not private.

Tow rig no more than 50' from roadway. (This used to be in the law but I'd have to go see if it's still there. Usually not much is said unless you're WAY off in the field)

jim-kb8ymf
Thanks guys !
So jim on the tow rig.. where at are you talking ? is there usually an opening on all trails right off the road ?? or do i just park off to the side ?
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Old June 26th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mclovin View Post
Thanks guys !
So jim on the tow rig.. where at are you talking ? is there usually an opening on all trails right off the road ?? or do i just park off to the side ?
Usually you can find a wide spot in the road or a wide entrance you can park off the side on. The only thing I can recommend is just use common sense when getting it out of the way and you shouildn't get bothered. However, don't park it half a mile down the road and expect the DNR boys to give you a break if you off-load an unlicensed vehicle and run back up the road to the trail. Like I said, just use your head and you should be fine.
jim-kb8ymf
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Old June 27th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #6
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The only thing I would add is that on National Forest Service (NFS) lands, Maintenance Level 2 roads (as indicated by their maps) are open to the use of 4wd and also that the NFS is very diligent about abandoning roads if they are going to place an ORV Trail (Orange triangles with bikes or quads on them) designation on a section. On State lands, (as KB8YMF stated) if you fit, go for it (within the stated restrictions) but on NFS lands it's safest to stay off them unless you have done the research to be sure it hasn't been closed to larger vehicles.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 04:40 AM   #7
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Where do you get the NFS maps, other than purch online? I picked up some maps from a district office in Baldwin, but they're really Equestrian/foot travel based. Are they the same thing as the USGS provisional maps? The ones I have are dated '87 and have no indications of closures/restrictions.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by upchuck View Post
Where do you get the NFS maps, other than purch online? I picked up some maps from a district office in Baldwin, but they're really Equestrian/foot travel based. Are they the same thing as the USGS provisional maps? The ones I have are dated '87 and have no indications of closures/restrictions.
You need a copy of their current transportation system map.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Trail_Fanatic View Post
You need a copy of their current transportation system map.

I paid the $9 for the 'current' map... It is horribly outdated (the lady at the ranger station said that it was up to date).

MANY (probably about 80%) of the marked, 4-digit, and open forest roads out there are unfortunately not on the map (at least for the manistee)

I came back the next day and talked to a different person at the ranger station, and he admitted that most of the current roads are not on the map, and that I would have to wait till next year to get the up to date map.

This is what frustrates me about the forest service/DNR; They expect you to be totally up to date on what is legal and what is not, but offer no help when you actually go out of your way to try to stay legal. (and then when you make an honest mistake, like travelling down a well-used trail with several fresh tracks that you thought was legal, they are all too happy to slap some fines on you.)

I may be dumb for doing it this way, but lately I have adopted 'if there is a 4-digit posted number, and no gate, it is fair game'. I feel I go way above and beyond to make sure everything is legal, but at the same time I feel totally helpless since there are no up to date maps, you get different stories about legality from different DNR/USFS staff, and nobody seems to know what the heck is going on. But they are always happy to show you to the maps for the motorcycle trails.

I feel they are heavily lopsided towards embracing erosive, loud dirt-bikes, and pushing away people who like to go out for a nice drive in their vehicle.

My buddy who is a CO feels the same way, and he is one of the few CO's that I know that actually understand that we are not all about destroying the land.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 11:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upchuck View Post
On state land, we're confined to ORV Routes for 50"+ width, power lines, stream crossings illegal, snowmobile trails(orange diamond) supposedly off limits too, nearly every hill with any marking/erosion at all has been closed.

Sorry, now I'm confused, too! Upchuck says powerlines legal, KB8 says illegal. Snowmobile trails illegal? Wow, I've been lucky. That's news to me. While I don't frequent them, I wouldn't have hesitated as "the group" that got me into this sport had always told me they were alright. Goes to show that even when you ask, and try to be legal, sometimes you still don't know.
Good idea to ask these questions and thanks to the experts for the responses...
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