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Michigan DNR announces snowmobiling trail updates

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced a number of snowmobile trail updates and other need-to-know information for snowmobiling throughout Michigan.

New Snowmobile Trail No. 37 connects northwest Michigan communities
The new, highly anticipated Snowmobile Trail No. 37 in Wexford and Manistee counties has opened for the 2016-17 snowmobile season. The 16.5-mile snowmobile trail, which runs from Yuma to Copemish, connects the trail systems near Cadillac to trails north in Benzie, Manistee and Leelanau counties.

This new connector trail will greatly enhance snowmobiling opportunities in northwest Michigan, as well as increase tourism in towns such as Mesick and Copemish.

While the trail will be open throughout the 2016-17 season, a trail detour will reroute snowmobilers around the Manistee River trestle bridge near Mesick.

The trail took many years to develop, as portions of the grade were under ownership of the Michigan Department of Transportation for transportation purposes. Through a cooperative agreement with MDOT, management responsibilities were transferred to allow for recreational use within the corridor.

In addition to MDOT’s support, the project had strong support from the Cadillac Winter Promotions and Benzie-Manistee Snowbirds snowmobile clubs. The clubs collaborated to make the trail connections and contributed many long hours brushing the trail.

The DNR, the Benzie-Manistee Snowbirds and the state snowmobile program contributed funds to the project. The DNR is working to obtain grant funding to hire a bridge engineer consultant to assess and complete improvements to the trestle bridge.

For more information, contact Todd Neiss at 231-775-9727, ext 6045.

Snowmobile Trail No. 614 (Mason and western Lake counties)
A portion of Snowmobile Trail No. 614 in Mason and western Lake counties is closed for the 2016-17 snowmobile season. It has been determined that three bridges along the trail are structurally unsafe and the trail base has degraded due to higher-than-normal water levels.

The trail, known as “Bear Swamp” and located east of Freesoil, will be open to businesses near Big Bass Lake, but will be closed to the west. The area will be signed appropriately to ensure snowmobilers are aware of the closure.

The DNR and the U.S. Forest Service currently are in the process of determining a safe alternative route.

For more information, contact Todd Neiss at 231-775-9727, ext 6045.

Snowmobile Trails No. 487, ‘Skyline’ No. 489 (Crawford, Roscommon counties)
A portion of Snowmobile Trail No. 487 and “Skyline” Snowmobile Trail No. 489 has closed due to loss of connectivity.

The loss of connectivity results in 16 miles of closure between the I-75 interchange at exit 251 and Billman Avenue. The closure of Trail No. 487 leaves the ‘Skyline’ Snowmobile Trail 489 disconnected from another groomed trail. Trail sponsors and the DNR are working to establish a new connection at this time. Trail users are advised to seek an alternative route.

Private land owners, trail sponsors and the DNR ask the public to respect the closures and stay on the signed designated trails. “Trail Closed” signs have been posted to help riders find their way onto the region’s hundreds of miles of beautifully maintained snowmobile trails.

For more information, contact Amy Swainston at 989-275-5151, ext. 2044.

North Eastern State Trail Snowmobile Trail No. 9 (Presque Isle County)
A segment of the North Eastern State Trail, also known as Snowmobile Trail No. 9, temporarily is rerouted around the Ocqueoc River crossing in Presque Isle County due to an ongoing bridge replacement project. The trail closure is located just west of the village of Millersburg between Maple Street and 3 miles west to Ocqueoc Road.

The bridge project is under way and the trail will reopen as soon as the bridge is completed. A trail reroute has been put in place and is signed.

For more information contact Paige Perry at 989-732-3541 ext. 5086.

Pere Marquette Rail Trail Snowmobile Trail No. 30 (Osceola County)
A portion of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail Snowmobile Trail No. 30 will be closed for one day while the city of Evart replaces a water line. The trail temporarily will be backfilled and repaved next spring. An alternative route will be put in place.

The closure is anticipated to take place sometime between now and February 2017. Please use caution while traveling near the southeast end of the airport strip near 5 Mile Road, between 110th Avenue and Industrial Park Drive in Evart.

For more information, contact Amy Swainston at 989-275-5151, ext. 2044.

Snowmobile Trail No. 11N, 11S and 160 (Gogebic County)
Snowmobile Trail No. 11N will be closed this season due to a loss of private land permission last year. A reroute is being sought, but will require new landowner permissions and a large bridge over the Black River. The Gogebic Range Trail Authority and the DNR will continue to look at all options to reopen the trail as soon as feasible.

Snowmobile Trail No. 11S will be closed this season. The trail has been closed for several years due to loss of land control. The Gogebic Range Trail Authority and DNR are continuing to look at strategies for reopening the trail.

Snowmobile Trail No. 160 will be closed through January or longer due to a bridge that was washed out over Mudd Creek this past summer. Permitting, engineering and construction of a new bridge is under way.

For more information, contact Ron Yesney at 906-228-6561.

Snowmobile Trail No. 2 (Dickinson County)
A portion of Snowmobile Trail No. 2 temporarily has been closed into January. Construction on the Menominee River Bridge currently is under way to repair railings and decking on a bridge between Michigan and Wisconsin, west of Iron Mountain.

The snowmobile trail is closed between Pine Mountain Road in Michigan and Romitti Drive in Wisconsin until the bridge railings can be repaired. This closure is expected to remain in effect into January 2017.

For more information, contact Ron Yesney at 906-228-6561.

Snowmobile Trail No. 14 (Marquette County)
Snowmobile Trail No. 14 between Marquette and Big Bay will be closed to through traffic this winter. Land permissions were lost in Marquette Township; this prevents a trail connection to Snowmobile Trail No. 8. Portions of the trail still will be groomed, but it will not be possible to access Snowmobile Trail No. 14 from Snowmobile Trail No. 8. The only way to get to Big Bay via Snowmobile Trail No. 14 will be by utilizing a trailhead in Forestville, which is located approximately 4 miles northwest of Marquette.

For more information, contact Ron Yesney at 906-228-6561.

Snowmobiling need-to-know information
Purchase your snowmobile trail permit, which is required to operate snowmobiles in the state and valid for one year Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

To operate a snowmobile in Michigan, a valid registration must be obtained through the Secretary of State (or another state or province).

To increase safety on the trail, the DNR has implemented universal snowmobile trail signage to help provide consistent guidance on the trails.

There are rules and regulations for snowmobiling in Michigan.

There are nearly 6,500 miles of designated snowmobile trails in Michigan.

Snowmobile safety education training and online safety courses are recommended for all snowmobile operators and required for youth between the ages of 12 and 16.

The Michigan Snowmobiling Association maintains a list of clubs found throughout the state at www.msasnow.org/snowmobile-clubs.

Information regarding snowmobiling may be found on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.