Michigan's new ORV licenses create better opportunities for ORV riders

Michigan's nearly 3,700 miles of designated off-road vehicle (ORV) trails provide hours of fun for riders, and a $300 million economic impact to gas stations, restaurants, shops and hotels located near the trails.

Trends indicate ORV riding is growing, with Michigan riders spending an average of $1,839 annually on ORV equipment-related expenses - everything from repairs to new equipment.

ORV licenses and permits in Michigan changed in 2014, and include two levels depending on the type of riding you are doing. There is a $26.25 license that is required on eligible county roads, state forest roads in the Upper Peninsula and eligible national forest roads as well as on the frozen surface of public waters. This license is required to operate anywhere off of private lands.

In addition to the ORV License, an ORV Trail Permit (an additional $10, for a total of $36.25) is required when operating on designated and signed ORV trails, routes and scramble areas.

To capitalize on this growing sport, the Department of Natural Resources wants to take revenue generated from license sales and do many things to provide a better experience for ORV riders. These improvements include:

  • Acquiring an additional 300 miles for the state's designated ORV trail system.
  • Providing sufficient trail grant funding to stakeholders to develop, groom and brush trails and add signage.
  • Providing local law enforcement grants and grants for trail expansion areas.
  • Ensuring a safer environment for ORV trail users by increasing the number of conservation officers in Michigan, thereby boosting opportunities for education contacts and public safety through trail patrols.
  • Replacing and renovating failing or aging infrastructure, including bridges and culverts to address safety and environmental issues.
  • Creating destination places by adding trail connections to communities through easements and acquisitions.
  • Improving the ORV license-buying experience both online and in retail stores by enhancing the retail sales system.
  • Creating a southern Michigan ORV area closer to local population centers.
  • Better promoting Michigan's extensive network of trails and boost our reputation as the nation's Trails State.

With this additional revenue, Michigan intends to roar to the top as the destination state for ORV enthusiasts, benefiting thousands of small businesses around the state and providing a fun and exciting way to connect with our natural resources.