April 30 2020
DNR updates opening dates and modifications for public outdoor recreation sites
Under updated EO, most state parks, trail and boating access sites are open for local use; campgrounds, other lodging, shelters to open in phases
To help slow the spread of the coronavirus and carry out Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order through May 15, the Department of Natural Resources has updated expected opening dates and available amenities at many of its public outdoor recreation sites and facilities.
Most state parks and recreation areas and state-managed trails and boating access sites remain open to provide local opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, but social distancing is key. Federal and state health officials consistently have said that keeping at least 6 feet away from those outside your household is vital to containing the virus spread.
Proposed facility reopening dates are based on the updated stay-at-home executive order that ends May 15 and are staggered to allow for proper preparation. Details on closures and changes in services, as well as frequently asked questions, are available on the DNR’s COVID-19 response webpage at Michigan.gov/DNR.
The changes and planned public opening dates include the following, but further changes to the EO could affect these plans:
Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said he and his staff are eager to welcome back campers and visitors, but proper safety precautions and maintenance work must happen first.
“We know millions of residents are eager to return to state parks and recreation areas, and we will be here to serve them and make their visits as enjoyable as possible, but we have to open the right way and be certain that facilities and sites are clean, safe and ready to accommodate everyone,” Olson said.
To prepare state-managed parks, trails and boating facilities, many important tasks must be completed once nonessential work is permitted. The department anticipates staff can start work May 15 once the stay-at-home order is lifted; prep work is expected to take roughly five weeks. Duties include:
- Acquiring drinking water permits from county health departments.
- Opening bathrooms.
- Hiring and training seasonal staff.
- Ensuring sanitation systems are running efficiently.
- Making progress on infrastructure needs.
- Other operational duties.
Camping and overnight lodging reservations for dates between May 15 and June 21 have been canceled, but the following reimbursement options are available:
- Request to change reservation dates to later in the season (pending availability within the reservation booking window) and earn a free night for that time period. No reservation fees or cancellation/modification fees will be charged. Reservation holders who want this option must contact the call center at 800-447-2757 by May 15 at 8 p.m.
- Choose a full refund to automatically be applied to original payment method, including the reservation fee. Reservation holders DO NOT need to take any action; all remaining reservations will automatically be canceled after May 15, and an email will be sent when the refund is completed. No cancellation/modification fees will be charged.
In addition, reservation holders whose camping reservations for stays between March 23 and May 15 were canceled due to COVID-19 are eligible for a free night of camping on reservations made later in the season. Those who want to make a reservation or have already booked one for a later date should call 800-447-2757 by May 15 at 8 p.m. and have their canceled booking number handy.
Please note: Reservations extending beyond June 21 will be changed to a June 22 arrival date and canceled nights will automatically be refunded to the original payment method.
Shelter reservations between May 15 and June 21 will automatically be canceled. Reservation holders for those dates will receive full refunds to the original payment method, including the reservation fee paid at the time reservations were made. No cancellation/modification fees will be charged.
Questions can be directed to the reservation call center at 800-447-2757.
The DNR will extend closures in state forest campgrounds and DNR-operated harbors through at least June 9, allowing for additional time to prepare for public reopening.
Reservations for dates between May 15 and June 9 will automatically be canceled after May 15 for a full refund to the original payment method, unless a customer calls the call center at 800-447-2757 by May 15 at 8 p.m. to request a reservation be changed to a later date as outlined above (including one free night).
DNR-managed boating access sites that already were open for the season and remained open during the stay-at-home order will remain open. The addition of various amenities, such as the placement of courtesy piers and the reopening of bathrooms at boating access sites, will begin as staff time and maintenance schedules allow.
The most recent stay-at-home order specifies that boating (including motorized) is now allowed, but people from different households are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet apart.
- Bathroom buildings and hand-washing stations are closed through at least June 3, although those facilities associated with campgrounds will remain closed until the campground opens. Trash service also has been halted during the same time frame; please leave the sites as you found them. Bring bags to carry out any trash with you.
- Dispersed camping on approved state-managed lands is not permitted until at least May 15.
- Due to the extended stay-at-home order and operational functions associated with starting the season, the tentative opening date at Silver Lake State Park ORV Area in Oceana County is Wednesday, June 3. Staff is scheduled to return May 15 and the prep work is anticipated to take about three weeks. Read full press release.
- In order to minimize face-to-face interactions and the exchange of money, the Recreation Passport requirement for vehicle entry to state parks and recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and state-managed boating access sites has been suspended until at least two weeks after the stay-at-home order ends.
March 24 2020
All trail grooming suspended due to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order
On Monday, March 23, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21). For at least the next three weeks, all Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, and all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity (while practicing proper social distancing), or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their families, like going to the hospital or grocery store.
The order prohibits you to leave the home to work unless your employer designates you as a critical infrastructure worker. Your work is very important to our trails system, but is not considered part of that critical infrastructure workforce.
Because of this order, as of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24:
- Grooming of snowmobile trails is suspended.
- Grooming, grading, brushing, signing and other related work on state-designated trails, including cross-country skiing and fat tire biking trails, are also suspended.
While trails will remain open for public use, people using trails are asked to adhere to social distancing recommendations, including keeping at least 6 feet between themselves and another person. This order will continue through at least April 13. Snowmobiling season ends March 31.
If anyone has questions regarding this order, please direct calls to DNR state trails coordinator Paul Yauk at 517-331-0111.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. For those who have questions about the state’s actions to reduce the coronavirus risk to Michigan residents, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.
Follow the DNR’s COVID-19 response webpage for the latest closure information about facilities, events and meetings.
March 12, 2020
Contact: Paul Gaberdiel, 906-293-5131, ext. 4045
DNR temporarily closes snowmobile trail on Drummond Island in Chippewa County
A section of snowmobile trail UP493 on Drummond Island will close temporarily beginning Sunday.
The closure is due to a mining operation being conducted by Carmeuse America Co., which is opening a mining haul road from the ferry boat docks to near the business district.
During this closure, snowmobilers will be required to trailer their sleds onto the island and into the business district for staging. While there are no alternative routes available, approximately 60 miles of snowmobile trails will remain open on Drummond Island.
About half of the DNR-managed snowmobile trails in the state are located on private land. Please, respect private land, stay on the trail and ride right.
Feb 27 2020 –
Due to unfortunate circumstances a segment of Snowmobile Trail 16 located on private land is closed in Dickinson County. There is no through snowmobile traffic on Trail 16 between Crystal Falls and Trail 5 near Sagola at this time. Disrespectful snowmobilers, excessive speed and riders not stopping at stop signs resulted in the landowner revoking permission for the trail located on private property. Riders will need to seek alternative routes for east-west travel between Dickinson and Iron Counties as DNR staff and the snowmobile club research potential reroutes.
Feb 13 2020 FYI DNR and the Grant Sponsor will have a temporary reroute in place located near Three Lakes on Trail 8 to bypass a logging operation near Craig Lake where several miles of trail (which is also forest road) was plowed to access the operation. The reroute is temporary and weather dependent due to numerous wet areas, if the weather warms wet areas will most likely open up and we may have to abort the reroute and route the traffic back to the existing trail. Riders are asked to ride cautiously as they may encounter wet sections and several very steep hills are located on the temporary reroute. We will keep you informed, thanks and have a good day! Rob
Trails Specialist Central U.P.
Snowmobilers Lose Favorite Warming /Meeting Spot
Search Starts for New Location
Snowmobilers in Oceana and northern Muskegon counties were disappointed this year to find that they could no longer enjoy a warming hut east of Shelby. This hut has been on the trail for almost 50 years and was a favorite gathering spot (teepee). We are grateful for the use of the land and hut over all these years but the family felt the need to look for alternative uses of the property.
With a outhouse facility restocked by the groomer drivers and a supply of wood put up each fall by volunteers for heat all winter long, the area was a perfect place for family and friends to meet and has been the scene of many social and family gatherings, hot dog roasts, etc. It has been a treasure now unfortunately lost to snowmobilers.
The hut had a large cast iron wood stove that looked like it was built during the Revolutionary War but was still perking along. It included a grated shelf on the back that was a perfect place to warm and dry gloves. A few years ago the structure was almost destroyed by a fire that was caused by a defect in the stove vent pipe. Fortunately only about 50% of the structure was involved and a group of volunteers repaired the damage better than new.
The West Shore Snowmobile Council (WSSC) must now look to the future and members of the council are scouting for an alternative location in Oceana and northern Muskegon counties on which to build another warming facility. Once a good spot has been found, it will take volunteers and money to make it a reality. It is only through volunteer hours and contributed dollars that such locations can be built and maintained. None of the money from the sale of trail permits goes to providing and maintaining trail warming huts. Trail permit funds are dedicated to grooming, law enforcement and insurance costs. So other funds must be collected to construct any new facility.
Some have suggested the use of GoFundMe to collect funds but the fees charged by GoFundMe make this impractical. It is imperative though that we start raising funds so that the money to build will be there once a good spot is decided on. If you would like to contribute to a future warming hut, you may send a donation to the New Era Hardware store, 4736 S 1st St., New Era, MI 49446. Checks should be made out to the West Shore Snowmobile Council.
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January 20, 2020~ There is a bridge on the Kal-Haven Trail (LP58) that can no longer support the weight of trail grooming equipment. The club will not be able to groom an approximately 1 mile section of the Kal-Haven Trail between 53rd St. and 51 ½ St. near Grand Junction. The 1 mile section of trail is still open and safe to snowmobile, it just won’t be groomed
January 16, 2020 – After attending the Western UP Advisory Council Meeting we discovered the Lake Linden to Dollar Bay Trail needs our help. It was stated that Lansing is considering naturalizing the trail (installing rip rap just to preserve the land) instead of actually repairing the trail. We were told that if we want to stop this from happening we need to get everyone that we possibly can to send letters to Lansing as well as the DNR trails coordinator and our representative #GregMarkkanen because there apparently has not been anything voiced by our community stating how much our businesses and economy relies on these trails. We don’t have much time left for this as the DNR has filled its last extension to be able to receive FEMA money to help with these repairs.
Please Everyone send in letters and pick up the phone to show how much we need this trail fixed!!!
NATIONAL OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLE CONSERVATION COUNCIL
NOHVCC’s webinar series continues– join us on January 22!
Title: Access to Safety Training – And How to Know if Your Child is Ready To Ride an ATV
OHV recreation equals family recreation. There are more options than ever to get outdoors and ride with family members both young and not so young. But these options make it imperative that parents make sure that their children are of an appropriate age and maturity level to operate a motorized vehicle. Thankfully the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) has some tools to help parents make informed decisions.
When: January 22, 2020
Time: 8:00 PM Eastern
Register For the Webinar Here!
If you register for the webinar – NOHVCC staff will reach out to you with information on how to log in within a few days.
Primary Presenters include:
Tom Yager, Vice President, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Duane Taylor, Executive Director, NOHVCC
Any questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org