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Registered Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Use and Users: Forest Policy Implications

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From 1975, the number and diversity of off-road vehicles (ORVs) registered in Michigan has grown as have concerns over ORV use and safety. To better understand the situation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Forest Management Division commissioned a study of Michigan ORV registrants. The study's objectives were to profile registered ORV users and to identify their use of ORVs in Michigan and their preferences for state policy. A mail questionnaire was sent to a stratified, random sample of 1,200 registrants. Most respondents were male, with higher income and education levels than most Michiganians. Off-road use in Michigan was estimated to be 1.2 million 12 hr recreation days in a 12 month period of 1987-1988. Most use was not on a designated ORV trail, route, or area. Most ORVs were driven by more than the registrant, with many drivers under 16 yr of age. ORV registrants preferred forest roads over other riding situations, and most desired managers to provide more places to ride legally. Following MDNRs public release of this research, the author was invited to testify at legislative hearings reviewing the Michigan ORV statute. Subsequently, the testimony was used as partial basis for revising the ORV law to provide for more designated trails, a "closed unless posted open" rule for state forest ORV use, and restrictions on ORV use by youth. North. J. Appl. For. 13(2):84-88.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Park, Recreation and Tourism Resources, 131 Natural Resources Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824

Publication date: 1996-06-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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