Governor Granholm Signs Legislation to Expand Trail Access for Snowmobiles

Contact: Heidi Watson 517-335-6397

December 27, 2005

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation that will allow snowmobiles to operate on some limited access highways in Michigan under the discretion of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). 

“This legislation will not only expand access to trails for snowmobile operators, but will also benefit Michigan communities whose local economies rely on tourism,” Granholm said. 

Currently, snowmobiles are allowed to operate in the right-of-way on public highways that are not limited access if it has been designated a snowmobile trail by the DNR and approved by MDOT.  Senate Bill 161 (Public Act 307), signed by Granholm, expands this process to limited access highways.  Additionally, the bill establishes a process by which the DNR and MDOT can prohibit snowmobile use on any highway, but only if a demonstrable threat to public safety exists.

In December, 2004, Granholm vetoed similar legislation.  At the time, she expressed her support for expanding recreational opportunities for snowmobile enthusiasts, but asked the legislature to provide a comprehensive approach to the issue that balanced the interests of snowmobiles, landowners and motor vehicles in a way that ensured the safety of all parties.

“I am pleased that all of the interested parties were able to work together to forge a compromise that helps local economies, expands recreational opportunities and protects public safety,” said Granholm.

Michigan is home to almost 400,000 registered snowmobiles and nearly a quarter million trail permit holders.

Senate Bill 161 was sponsored by Senator Jason Allen (R-Traverse City).