OFF-ROAD VEHICLE PATROL
During the off-road season Sheriff Deputy
patrols all Kalkaska area Off-Road Vehicle trails, ORV routes, forest trails/roads and county roads.
Off-Road Vehicle Patrol is assigned to deputies that have proven
proficiency on the machines in addition to specialized training in the
statutory aspects of the operation, licensing, and registration of these
This patrol normally operates on weekends and will occasionally work
special events. Selective enforcement may be necessary based upon special
requests or complaints received from citizens. Typically, deputies patrol
the off-road trails, routes and selected areas conducting inspections and
compliance checks to ensure that operators adhere to state and local laws.
The off-road vehicle patrol may be requested to assist at accident scenes
and could at any time, be called out for search and rescue operations.
Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Law:
The following is a summary of important highlights from the Michigan
Off-Road Vehicle Law that every owner/operator is expected to know, understand
and obey. The fact Sheet is provides as a service to encourage safety,
awareness and responsibility.
An ORV is defined as any motor vehicle that can be operated cross-country
without benefit of a road or trail over land, snow, and other natural terrain,
and includes the following:
1.Multi-track and multi-wheeled vehicles, ATV's, motorcycles and related
2, 3, and 4-wheeled vehicles, amphibious machines (water to land and back),
hovercraft and any other vehicles that use mechanical power, including
2 and 4-wheeled drive vehicles that are highway registered (licensed by
the Secretary of State for road use), when operated off highways and roads.
2. ATV's are a subgroup of ORV's. An ATV is a 3 or 4-wheeled
vehicle that is designed for off-road use, that has low pressure (balloon
type) tires, with a seat that is designed to be straddled by the operator,
powered by an engine in size from 50cc on up to 500 cc displacement.
Exemptions are registered snowmobiles, farm, construction and logging
vehicles when being used in usual work practices; military, fire, emergency
and law enforcement vehicles.
Owners of ORV's are required to obtain a title for an ORV through
the Secretary of State (SOS). Exception: nonresident ORV used
Owner's of ORV's are required to license their ORV with the Department of
Natural Resources (DNR). Resident and nonresident
are required to obtain an ORV License when the ORV is used in areas open
to the public. Note: This license is commonly referred to as a "Trail Permit"
Exception: When the ORV is used exclusively on one's private property
or written permission is obtained from the property owner.
ORV Licenses are valid from April 1 through March 31 of the following
year, regardless of the date of purchase. ORV License can be obtained
from most sporting good stores, ORV dealerships or online from Michigan DNR (MDNR) ELicense.
to access eLicense.
For ORVs of all sizes. DNR License Required. Unless Licensed
by Secretary of State (License Plate).
For ATVs and Motorcycles. DNR License Required
For Motorcycles, some sections require
DNR License and Secretary of State License (License Plate).
Vehicles licensed with the Secretary of State (License Plated) require
an ORV License only when that vehicle is used on designated ORV TRAILS
and if used on designated areas for cross-country use (MCCCT TRAILS-Michigan
Cross Country Cycle Trail).
Exception: ORV License is NOT required for street licensed
vehicles used on the frozen surface of public waters.
An ORV License must be permanently attached to the ORV and be visibly
displayed in the following manner:
1. On 2-wheeled vehicles are to be centered on the exposed rear
2. On 3 or 4-wheeled (ATV's) on the flat metal surface, bumper or
plate permanently attached to the rear of the ORV.
3. Other ORV's including dune buggies and 4WD trucks are to
display the ORV License centered and visible on the rear of the vehicle.
NOTE: The Secretary of State shall not register or title an
all-terrain vehicle for highway or street use.
Operating golf carts on public roads/highways is prohibited.
A person SHALL NOT operate an off-road vehicle:
1. While under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
2. At a rate of speed than that which is reasonable and proper.
3. In any forest nursery or planting area.
4, In any area in a manner to injure, damage or destroy crops
5. In any area in a manner so as to create an erosive condition.
6. In or upon the waters of any stream, river, bog, wetland,
marsh or quagmire.
7. In a careless manner with due regard for existing conditions.
8. In a manner as to leave litter or debris.
9. While transporting a passenger without a seat as designed
by the manufacturer to transport passengers.
10.Within 100' of a dwelling at a speed greater than the minimum
speed necessary for controlled forward movement.
Except on private property with the permission of the property owner
and on designated routes, trail areas and access routes.
11. While under a court suspension of ORV operating rights.
12. On any unlicensed ORV.
A person SHALL NOT operate an off-road vehicle:
1. In hunting, pursuing or worrying any animal.
2. While transporting a strung, uncased bow, or an uncased
or loaded firearm.
3. In a public area during the November firearms deer season,
between the hours of 7:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Except going to or from a residence or hunting camp that is inaccessible
by a conventional vehicle. On private property, with landowner's
permission. By a person holding a Permit to Hunt from a standing
OFF-ROAD VEHICLE AREAS OF NON-OPERATION:
A person may NOT operate an off-road vehicle in the following places:
1. On lands of another without permission.
2. On or across a cemetery, or airport.
3. On a public or private parking lot.
4. On a DNR dedicated natural area.
5. On gas, oil pipelines, electrical or other public utility right-of-ways.
6. On any public highway, street, or right-of-way.
(see below information box)
Except; To cross at right angles, after a complete stop. For ORV's also registered as a motor vehicle by the Secretary of State.
In a special event held under a government permit.
ORDINANCE No. 2009-01 (Operation of Off Road Vehicles (ORV's) on roads in Kalkaska County).
An ORV may be operated on the far right of the maintained portion of a road within the county.
- "Road" means a county primary road or county local road.
An ORV may not operated on any road marked closed to ORV traffic by the Township or County Road Commission.
An ORV may not be operated on the road surface, roadway, shoulder or right-of-way of any state or federal highway in the county (M72, M66 and US131).
Except as set forth herein or otherwise provided by law, an ORV meeting all of the following conditions may be operated on a road or street in the county:
- At a speed of no more than 25 miles per hour or a lower posted ORV speed limit.
- By a person not less than 12 years of age.
- With the flow of traffic and on the far right of the maintained portion of the road (includes shoulder where available).
- In a manner which does not interfere with traffic on the road or street.
- Traveling single file except when overtaking and passing another ORV.
When visibility is not substantially reduced due to 'Weather'conditions unless displaying a lighted headlight and lighted taillight.
1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 after sunset unless displaying a lighted headlight and lighted tail-light.
- While displaying a lighted headlight and lighted taillight at ALL HOURS BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2010.
- While the operator and each passenger is wearing a crash helmet and protective eyewear approved by the United States
Department Of Transportation (DOT) unless the vehicle is equipped with a roof that meets or exceeds standards for a crash helmet
and the operator and each passenger is wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt.
- With a throttle so designed that when the pressure used to advance the throttle is removed, the engine speed will immediately
and automatically return to idle.
- While the ORV is equipped with a spark arrester type United States forest service approved muffler in good working order and
in constant operation.
- Pursuant to noise emission standards defined by law.
A child less than 16 years of age shall not operate an ORV on a road in the county unless the child is under the direct visual
supervision of an adult and the child has in his or her immediate possession a Michigan issued ORV safety certificate or a
comparable ORV safety certificate issued under the authority of another state or a province of Canada.
- "Visual supervision" means the direct observation of the operator with the unaided or normally corrected eye, Where the
observer is able to come to the immediate aid of the operator.
A court may order a person who causes damage to the environment, a road or other property as a result of the operation of an ORV
to pay full restitution for that damage above and beyond the penalties paid for civil fines.
NOTE: All other rules and regulations pertaining to ORV's still apply.
NOTE: To download a printable copy of the above in PDF Document Form
7. On a DNR designated snowmobile trail located in the Lower Peninsula.
Except if it is also designated for ORV use.
8. On any operational or non-abandoned railroad right-of-way
Except to cross at designated railroad crossings.
OFF-ROAD VEHICLE AREAS OF OPERATION:
A person may operate an off-road vehicle in the following areas:
1. On private lands, with written permission by the owner.
2. On a designated trail system.
SAFETY EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
ORV safety training should be considered a "must" for all ORV operators.
The Michigan Department of Education (DOE) administers the ORV safety training
and certification program. Information on course availability and
scheduling can be obtained by calling 1-800-887-2887 for an ATV Safety
course, or 1-517-782-4567 for an Off-Highway Motorcycle Safety Course.
The course should not exceed $25.00.
RESTRICTIONS ON YOUTH ORV OPERATORS:
1. No person under the age of 16 may operate any 3-wheeled ATV.
2. No child under the age of 10 may operate any 4-wheeled ATV.
Except on private land while performing farm-related work operations
3. Children who are 10 and 11 years old may operate 4-wheeled ATV's
only when all of the following conditions exist:
Must be on land owned by the child's parent or guardian.
Must be under visual supervision of an adult and must possess a valid ORV safety certificate.
4. Children who are 12 to 15 years old may operate 4-wheeled ATV's
only when BOTH of the following conditions exist:
Must be under visual supervision of an adult and must possess a valid ORV safety certificate.
5. Children under 16 years old may operate other ORV's (trail
bikes, for example) only when BOTH of the following conditions exist:
Must be under visual supervision of an adult.
Must possess a valid ORV safety certificate.
6. No child under the age of 12 may cross any street, highway or
county road while operating any ORV.
Note: The parents and legal guardians of the child under the
age of 16 are legally responsible if they permit the child under their
care to violate any of the above. The owner (or person in control)
of an ORV is also responsible if his/her ORV is operated by a youngster.
Note: For a Schedule of any upcoming ORV Safety Certificate Classes for
children under 16 years of age, you may check the DNR website
or for a list of classes offered state wide .
Note: Schedule of any upcoming ORV Safety Certificate Classes for
children under 16 years of age conducted by the Kalkaska County Sheriff's Office
or access the News Release Page.
Note: The Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws
A person shall NOT operate an Off-Road Vehicle:
1. In or upon premises which are fenced, enclosed or posted
in a conspicuous manner.
2. When notice against trespass is personally given by the
owner, or other authorized person.
3. In or upon farm property without written permission of
the landowner, whether or not the farm is fenced, enclosed or posted.
Note: A peace officer may seize property upon complaint of
the landowner or their lessee or agent.
1. An operator of an off-road vehicle must bring their vehicle to
a complete stop when signaled to do so by a law enforcement officer.
FAILURE TO DO SO IS A MISDEAMEANOR.
1. An ORV operator and passenger MUST wear a U.S. DOT approved helmet
and protective eyewear or goggles. Except: When the ORV is
equipped with an approved roof and the operator and passengers are wearing
properly adjusted and fastened safety belts.
2. A braking system in good working condition that operates by either
hand or foot.
3. A throttle system designed to automatically and immediately return
the engine to idle when released.
4. A U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrester and muffler, in
good working condition and meeting applicable sound level standards (99Db(A)
or 94Db(A) on vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1986.
5. If operated during the hours of ½ hour after sunset and
½ hour before sunrise must also have a lighted head light, tail
light and brake light, brighter than the tail light.
1. Long sleeved shirt or jacket.
2. Chest protector for chest and shoulders.
3. Kidney or riding belt for lower back support.
4. Sturdy gloves that protect the hands and improve grip on the
5. Denim or other heavy pants material.
6. Knee and elbow pads.
7. Heavy leather boots for ankle and foot protection.
ORV TRAIL RIDERS ADVISORY:
Michigan ORV trails and routes are designed for two-way travel.
Be alert at all times when riding on designated routes for other vehicles
including snowmobiles and trucks. Users need to always be alert for
on-coming traffic. Single track trails are designed for motorcycle
and ATV's and are recommended for Advanced Riders Only.
There are certain responsibilities that come with the ownership
and operation of an ORV. Adults bear the burden of passing
on responsible conservation and outdoor ethics to young operators under
their supervision, and setting the example for all other ORV enthusiasts.
It is important to consider the potential impact of ORV's on Michigan's
fragile environment, and to operate ORV's in a manner that minimizes conflicts
with others who are enjoying the fields and forests of the state.
Michigan's law enforcement officers will play an important role in ensuring
ORV recreational opportunities are available for safe responsible users.
They accomplish this through aggressive enforcement and a continued willingness
to respond to public concerns.
DNR Trail Maps within Kalkaska County - Click on Below Links
- Grand Traverse to Leetsville MCCCT
- Kalkaska Trail and Route
- Kalkaska to Tomahawk
- Leetsville Trail Map
- Leetsville to Kalkaska MCCCT
- North Missaukee Trail and Route
- North Missaukee and MCCCT
- West Higgins Trail