View Full Version : ATV on snow mobile trails?

12-19-2009, 08:37 AM
Can I legally ride an ATV on the snow mobile trails in the U.P.? I will be spending some time around Watersmeet over the Christmas break and am looking for places to ride.

12-19-2009, 03:21 PM
The trail has to be specifically open to not only atv travel..but open "year round" there are some trails in my home town designated as such but not many have the atv year round designation. makes one wonder if you shouldnt need a trail permit [you dont] but thats a hot topic for another day..your atv sticker covers your machine year round for under 20 bucks. being a atv and a sled owner i have not taken mine out on the groomed trails before...the atv gets delegated to lowly plow service in the winter!

12-19-2009, 07:44 PM
I'll see what I can find out for you

12-19-2009, 08:33 PM
OK, I did some digging and this is what I found...Huron/manistee forests are restricted from ATV use from Dec. 1 to March 31. The Otttawa NF Has no restrictions for atv use on roads/trails not posted closed. This was on the MI-DNR web site. So if you are in the Ottawa forest area, you should be fine. There are some ideas about winter restrictions for atv use being discussed by the trail use and SAC commities, so things may change in the future. It did not say anything about trail permits (snow vs ORV). I would say if you plan to ride the snowmobile trails regularly, it would be advisable to get a snow trail permit. The funds are what gets the trail groomed, and everyone likes groomed trails.

12-19-2009, 09:03 PM
Skip Schulz sschulz@jamadots.com. Contact Skip he can answer all your ATV questions. There are trails you need to stay off with ATV in winter or you will get popped or tar & feathered & run out of town. You need to get this right as there has been a lot of work to get ATV trails in UP.

12-20-2009, 02:51 AM
I'd say No for the U.P. There are winter ATV trails in Marinette Co. Wis.

12-20-2009, 01:56 PM
If its a ORV atv trail then yes they are open all year long.
Check the Mi Trale site

01-05-2010, 02:53 PM
Not a good idea. I have an ATV and use ATV designated trails in the summer and many are snowmobile trails obtained and maintained by snowmobile clubs. ATV's do not mix well with snowmobiles in their bizarre handling in snow(the safety issue) and the damage to the trails. In addition, many of these snowmobile trails cross private property and the owners in many cases do not allow ATV's on thier property and those sections are closed to ATV use in the summer. Infractions would likely result in the closing down of these private land sections of the snowmobile trails. The members of the snowmobile clubs spend much effort in obtaining and maintaining these trails for snowmobile use. The simple answer is to use a snowmobile and buy a trail permit.

01-10-2010, 09:45 AM
Come to Wisconsin, we have many Trails open to Atv's in the Winter. Most Counties only allow ATV travel below 28 degrees and open a week after they are open for Sleds.

Every County is different and not all Trails are open but there are many that are.

01-22-2010, 01:26 AM
I've had this question asked many, many times. I have also seen this question on this and other websites many, many times.

This is not a 'slam' on anyone...either the person that started the thread or those responding.

I want to thank you for asking.

Here is the Michigan ORV Law, then I'll give you how Mi-TRALE feels about it.

On certain Mi DNR DESIGNATED ORV Trails, an ORV can legally ride on that trail 12 months a year, 365 days a year. In the Mi-TRALE 5 County Network of trails, that includes what we have signed as the BN (Bill Nichols), SB (Sidnaw to Bergland), and the IRM (Iron River to Marenisco) trails.

That's Michigan law, whether we like it, whether snowmobilers like it, or not.

HOWEVER, Mi-TRALE has ALWAYS had the policy to NOT ride an ATV on those trails until at least May 15th. Mi-TRALE, nor the landowners that we have an ORV Trail Agreement with, allow any ORV on the NON-DESIGNATED ORV Trails from December 1st to May 14th.

Mi-TRALE has worked very hard to build a good working relationship with every snowmobile club (but one), and we do not want to jeopardize this. The majority of our Mi-TRALE members are also snowmobilers, and we have our club rides in the winter, on SNOWMOBILES.

While I cannot speak on behalf of our fantastic organization, I personnly would like to see all wheeled vehicles prohibited from ALL trails from Dec 1st to May 14th. Again, that is only my opinion and not the opinion of our members or our Board of Directors.

BTW, the only snowmobile club we don't have a close working relationship with is one that Mi-TRALE has offered the 'olive branch' time and time again too, but they just want to keep dividing the two user groups.

01-22-2010, 01:10 PM
I`m a winter atver and love riding in the snow on open atv trails.

Here is some good study on the effects of atvs during the winter, some may have seen this and some might not.


01-25-2010, 05:36 AM
Skipschultz, how does this apply to a atv that has tracks on it?? I have a farmer friend that is set up like that, and has asked me that question before and from what we found out from the d.n.r. was that he was allowed. Ironically they never could answer if he needed a snow tag or orv tag??? He has neither tag for it because it never leaves his farming operation. At least when it does he is covered by his orange triangle....

01-25-2010, 05:41 AM
Ranger x. interesting read. I am only about 6 pages in but interesting. The only thing I have always wondered/worried about is if they allow atv's on the trail. Tracks or not is how much would the accident rate go up. Not saying one thing or another about the way someone behaves but strickly from the aspect of speed of a sled compaired to speed of a atv?? And acidents involving the two of them together.

01-25-2010, 01:10 PM
Rather then read the whole thing it sums it up on page 9.


01-27-2010, 01:22 AM
dab... I don't know what the law is in regards to an ATV with tracks. I know this issue has been brought up at different Ottawa National Forest meetings that I attend.

I don't know if I want to bring this up on the DNR Committee I sit on.

I simply do not know how the DNR in Michigan stands on this.

What I stated is what I know with the 20+ years of working on ATV Trails and with the MiDNR.

The opinion I gave towards ATV's on snowmobile trails in the Western UP is just that...MY opinion. Mi-TRALE Board or members have never officially taken a stand, one way or the other, with ATV's on Snowmobile Trails in the winter.

I simply stated that 'legally' an ATV can ride on the MiDNR Designated ORV Trails at any time of the year. In the Mi-TRALE 5 Western UP Country Trail Network, this includes the BN (Bill Nichols), SB (Grade from Sidnaw to Bergland), and the IRM (grade from Iron River to Marenisco).

I still maintain (again MY opinion), ATV's should not be on Snowmobile trails in the winter. I'm sorry if I offended some of my fellow ATV Riders.


01-27-2010, 01:33 AM
BTW, I find that report very interesting and informative. I have added this to my long list of 'favorites.'

I cannot stress enough that Mi-TRALE has not taken any stance on ATV's on snowmobile trails in the winter. The only position we have ever taken was the use of ATV's in the winter on our clubs funded and maintained ATV Trails. This is because of land-owner desires.

Mi-TRALE was one of the first in our state years ago to get Trail Agreements on Private Property for an ATV Trail. This did not happen overnight, and took a lot of time to develop a good level of cooperation between our group and Private Landowners.

In no way will we jeopoardize that.

Plus, we have an excellent working relationship with a number of the snowmobile clubs in our area. You will find this on my latest update on our website www.mi-trale.org

While the report shows that ATV use on a groomed, hard-packed snowmobile trail is minimal (and I agree), it is snowmobilers and snowmobile clubs that 'frown' on ATV's riding on snowmobile trails in the winter.

just like the time we invested in working with Private Landowners, Mi-TRALE has invested a lot of time in working with snowmobile clubs. I just don't want to see this close working relationship deteriorate.

Hope you and others reading, understand where I and Mi-TRALE is coming from.


02-11-2010, 08:44 PM
Great thread...lots of info to use.