DNR details closures of state snowmobile trails

Snowmobilers make a pit stop at a gas station along M-28 in Bergland in Ontonagon County. Snowmobilers are being advised of holiday trail closures. (Photos courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is alerting snowmobilers to several trail closures in effect.

The DNR wants the public to be aware of the closures, particularly in this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, said Rob Katona, DNR central Upper Peninsula trails specialist, in a news release.

“In years with sufficient snow for riding, this is one of the busiest times of the winter for snowmobiling. Despite these closures, numerous trails are open and ready to ride with Michigan remaining a very popular destination for snowmobiling,” Katona said.

Upper Peninsula

Trail Closures

≤ Trail No. 8, Marquette County: A section of this main east-west snowmobile connector route in the region is closed between Champion and the Baraga Plains for a bridge beam replacement project. The bridge is scheduled to be reopened in mid-January. Alternative routes are available to the north — Trail No. 5 to Trail No. 14 — or south, which is Trail No. 5 to Trail No. 18. Access to Michigamme, Nestoria and Three Lakes will be available only from the west.

≤ Section of Snowmobile Trail No. 137 temporarily closed, Ontonagon County: This trail is closed on its south end near Rockland, north of Cemetery Road, for a large culvert replacement project. This work should be completed within the first week of January. There is no designated reroute. Access to communities is available via Trails Nos. 12 and 13.

≤ Trail No. 1, Ontonagon County: The north end of this trail is closed due to logging activity from the intersection of Trail No. 100 to Trail No. 8, which is basically the west side of Lake Gogebic. Lodges and cottages on the southwest side of the lake will remain accessible. The trail sponsor is working on a possible reroute. Trail No. 13 provides a connection between Trail No. 1 and Trail No. 100. Trail No. 8 is open on the east side of Lake Gogebic.

≤ Trails Nos. 124 and 133, Keweenaw County: These trails are closed for the season because of active logging operations. Access to the community of Gay is available via Trail No. 122.

≤ Trail No. 8 — Chippewa County: A section of the trail from Paradise to Raco is temporarily closed from Paradise, south to the mouth of the Tahquamenon River due to a great deal of water from recent rains, and a lack of cold temperatures and snowfall to help freeze over the swamp. There are no reroute options in this area. The trail will reopen once the water freezes.

≤ Trail No. 2, Schoolcraft County: A 6.3-mile closure is in place from M-77 to the Manistique River Road. A low area known as “Bear Creek Swamp” has a great deal of water from fall rainstorms. The duration of the closure will depend on cold temperatures and snowfall.

≤ Trail Nos. 11N and 11S, Gogebic County: Trail No. 11N is closed this season due to a loss of private land access permission. A reroute is being sought. Trail No. 11S is closed while the trail sponsor works on necessary improvements for potential reopening this season.

Lower Peninsula

Trail Closures

≤ Trail No. 766, Antrim County: The trail is closed due to washout conditions from last year. There is no viable reroute.

≤ Trail No. 47, Crawford County: There are military training sessions planned for February near Snowmobile Trail No. 47, in the area west of Bald Hill Road to Stephan Bridge. Some forest roads will be closed to snowmobilers and civilian traffic, so the public is asked to respect the closed gates.

≤ Trails No. 487 and ‘Skyline’ No. 489, Crawford and Roscommon counties: The trail is closed due to loss of connectivity. Trail sponsors and the DNR are working to establish a new connection.

Visit www.michigan.gov/dnrclosures for the latest updates on these and other closures and trail reroutes. Information on intermittent closures may not be posted.

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

More than half of these trails are located on private land and, in recent years, approximately 400 miles of trail closures have occurred on these private lands because of excessive trespassing — not staying on the trail — and modified exhausts such as loud pipes.

In addition to registering a snowmobile at the Secretary of State, anyone — either a resident or non-resident — who operates a snowmobile in Michigan is required to purchase a snowmobile trail permit. The trail permit enables snowmobilers to ride state-designated trails and public roads and public lands where authorized.

The permit is valid for one year, which begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30 of the following year. State-designated trails are open Dec. 1-March 31 and grooming occurs when there is enough snow on the ground.

Michigan’s snowmobile program is 100-percent funded by trail permit and registration dollars, which are directly reinvested into the program for the benefit of snowmobilers. The funds pay for grooming; signage; maintenance; bridge and culvert construction; purchase of new equipment; liability insurance; maintenance of trailhead amenities such as signage, bathrooms and plowing of parking lots; and other snowmobile-related expenditures.

According to the DNR, it costs $5.11 to groom one mile of trail in the state, with a $48 trail permit funding 9.4 miles of groomed trail one time.

For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, visit the DNR’s webpage at www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.