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Categorized | Outdoors

Snowmobile trails ready for riding

With recent heavy snowfall across much of the state, state snowmobile trails are ready for riders in many locations, the Department of Natural Resources announced last week.

“As a result of early, significant snowfall, trails in portions of the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula are already in great shape due to the hard work of the many snowmobile clubs who have packed down snow and developed a good base for grooming,” said Steve DeBrabander, DNR State Trails Operations and Construction supervisor. “Snow conditions vary from county to county, so be sure to call ahead for information on the condition of the trail in the area you are going to ride. With cold temperatures in the forecast, trails should be in great condition for the holidays.”

Up-to-date snowmobile trail conditions can be found online at www.trailreport.com or by checking with local DNR field offices or convention and visitor bureaus.

One change snowmobilers should be aware of for the 2009-2010 season is the increase in snowmobile trail permits from $25 to $35. At the request of snowmobilers, the Michigan Legislature passed an increase in these fees as a way to close a $1 million budget gap in the 2010 Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund, which pays for trail maintenance and creation along with law enforcement. The legislation was signed into law by the

Governor in January 2009.

Funding to support the Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund comes from the annual snowmobile trail permits, a portion of the snowmobile registration fee and a portion of state gas tax revenue. The Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund is constitutionally protected and can only be used for the snowmobile trails program.

The 6,500-mile designated snowmobile trail system is a statewide network of signed and groomed trails that extends from Southwest Michigan, up the west side of the Lower Peninsula, in the thumb area and throughout the Northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. This network of trails is on both public and private lands. According to snowmobile industry estimates, snowmobiling in Michigan is a $1 billion economic impact to the state.

Questions about the program may be directed to Steve DeBrabander a (517) 241-3687. For more information on Michigan’s snowmobile program, please go to www.michigan.gov/dnr, click on Recreation, Camping and Boating, and then click on Snowmobiling.

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