Local officials hoping to establish ORV club in Crawford County to find trail links
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Local officials are working with citizens in hopes of establishing an ORV club to get links to trails so that riders can travel to other key points in the region.
Grayling Charter Township Supervisor Lacey Stephan III said he was approached nearly a year ago about starting a club.
There has been nothing officially formed, but a small group of citizens interested in the club held a third meeting earlier this month.
Stephan said he has assisted the group by providing maps of Crawford County, where ORV trails are located, where they are open, and where ORV travel is closed off to the public.
One major hurdle the club will face is getting a trail that will go through military-owned property in Grayling Charter Township.
Stephan emphasized that those areas have been closed from ORV traffic for 30 years.
“That has always been the case,” Stephan said. “They have always been closed. They’re just enforcing it now.”
Lt. Col. Brian Burrell, the deputy garrison commander at Camp Grayling, has been available to meet with concerned citizens as they pursue the club.
“They’ve been very open to ideas as has the DNR,” Stephan said.
Stephan said a club, with articles of incorporation and bylaws, needs to be established to make recommendations to state leaders. Otherwise, the military and DNR officials will be making the decisions regarding ORV trails and travel without local input.
“If it’s just can we please versus having a club that shows interest and support for this, it’s probably not going to go anywhere,” Stephan said. “It is much needed. Our trails are fragmented to say the least.”
Stephan has agreed to be a conduit between state officials and the club to facilitate trail use. He said he would direct interested parties to appropriate township and county officials as needed.
But so far, there has been people who want to volunteers their time and labor, but no one wants to be on an official board for the club.
“It’s starting and hopefully the word gets out and we can get a few more people that are showing up,” Stephan said. “They’re willing to help, but they’re not willing to be a board member of any kind.”
Stephan said it will be ideal to get some recommendations to Tom Barnes, the manager for the DNR’s Forest Management Unit, by August 31 so that they would be implemented by next summer.
Having a centralized trail traveling through Crawford County would link existing trails as far south as St. Helen and northern areas in Frederic and Lovells.
“We’re trying to get a route that will connect those areas,” Stephan said. “I think it’s time.”
Citizens interested in starting an ORV club can contact Stephan at the Grayling Charter Township Hall at (989) 348-4361.