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Old 04-14-2012, 04:10 PM   #286
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Originally Posted by Askel View Post
This doesn't involve GMO land, does it?

Congratulations to the ATV guys if they managed to get permission to do this. GMO is not easy to work with. Sad that they can't share.

I'm not exactly sure this up for any kind of democratic process. I'm pretty sure it's GMO's call. I guess if we want access, we'll need to lobby them ourselves.

Or just do what we've been doing and ride without permission....

The meeting is to gain input about the trail and the issues involved with the trail which includes the uniform access issue. Strong support by OHM riders can lead to legislative action that can create a situation for the timber companies and the ORV crowd that makes it work for everyone.

Apart from the timber company issue is the issue with some of the signs. Since the guy that manages trails in the UP is going to be there to talk about issues on the Keweenaw, it would be a good idea for people that don't want to lost access to go there and make their desires known.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:00 PM   #287
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Originally Posted by Askel View Post
This doesn't involve GMO land, does it?
What is "GMO land"?

I've not heard that one before...
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:21 AM   #288
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GMO is a company.

Pretty much all of the CFR land in Keweenaw County is owned by them.

They've been difficult to work with since they were involved in lawsuit a few years ago regarding an incident that occurred on their land out east some place.

I guess I'm curious what form the legislative action that Cannon proposes should take.

Getting GMO to agree to this is a big win for the Keweenaw ATV folks. While going to such measures to disallow bikes isn't cool, I'd hate to raise a big stink, have GMO get cold feet about the whole deal and see it collapse. It could easily become lose-lose for everyone.

We've actually got it pretty good right now. Despite the difficulty in getting GMO to grant actual legal access to their land, they've been surprisingly tolerant. Almost all their land in the Keweenaw remains ungated and access to numerous sights depends upon roads that travel through their property.

It'd really suck if they started to clamp down on access- or worse, said to hell with all those keweenaw whiners and broke up the big contiguous chunks of property and sold them as individual small recreational parcels.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:41 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by Askel View Post
GMO is a company.

Pretty much all of the CFR land in Keweenaw County is owned by them.

They've been difficult to work with since they were involved in lawsuit a few years ago regarding an incident that occurred on their land out east some place.

I guess I'm curious what form the legislative action that Cannon proposes should take.

Getting GMO to agree to this is a big win for the Keweenaw ATV folks. While going to such measures to disallow bikes isn't cool, I'd hate to raise a big stink, have GMO get cold feet about the whole deal and see it collapse. It could easily become lose-lose for everyone.

We've actually got it pretty good right now. Despite the difficulty in getting GMO to grant actual legal access to their land, they've been surprisingly tolerant. Almost all their land in the Keweenaw remains ungated and access to numerous sights depends upon roads that travel through their property.

It'd really suck if they started to clamp down on access- or worse, said to hell with all those keweenaw whiners and broke up the big contiguous chunks of property and sold them as individual small recreational parcels.
Companies get tax incentives for allowing recreational use of their land.

Legislation that affords greater liability protection to a company, especially for motorized use on a designated trail, can eliminate some issues. Legislation can also alter the catalog of recreational uses and conditions of use that allow for tax incentives.

Apart from the timber company, there are still concerns about access being restricted for two wheeled ORVs on roads that appear on the county highway map.
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:58 PM   #290
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Originally Posted by Askel View Post
We've actually got it pretty good right now. Despite the difficulty in getting GMO to grant actual legal access to their land, they've been surprisingly tolerant. Almost all their land in the Keweenaw remains ungated and access to numerous sights depends upon roads that travel through their property.
GMO land is in the Commercial Forest Act and is legally required to allow access for hunting and fishing. Statute does not require motorized access so they could gate the roads if they so chose. But we have legal access to that land right now for hunt/fish and since they are not gated, legal for motorized access.

The proposed land use order to put this trail in place, as currently written:

Will prohibit all motorcycles AND full size vehicles from using snowmobile trail 3 & 134 from Calumet to Copper Harbor.

This includes a key section needed to reach High Rock Bay, unless the road through The Nature Conservancy property on the north shore is used.

ONLY ATV and UTV allowed (again, as the LUOD is currently written in draft form). NO bikes, NO cars/trucks.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:28 PM   #291
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Originally Posted by Yooper_Bob View Post
What is "GMO land"?

I've not heard that one before...
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:33 PM   #292
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Okay, just got back from the meeting, ran 2 hours and got pretty heated. Sitting down to dinner right now and then will write up the meeting debrief.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:35 PM   #293
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The meeting is going on as we speak. The DNR Trails Analyst for the UP sent me some background material pertaining to the situation today. Nice fellow. Doing his job.

Understanding the current situation is not the problem. Finding a course of action that is enabling and satisfactory to all parties involved is what is important to us. This issue reaches beyond the Keweenaw.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:17 PM   #294
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Originally Posted by 2TrakR View Post
and since they are not gated, legal for motorized access.

I was actually not aware it was allowed unless explicitly disallowed. I assumed it was the other way.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7...1777--,00.html

"The use of ORV's or other vehicles on private property when prohibited by fencing or posting. If vehicles are allowed, care should be taken to avoid blocking access to roads or parking areas."

So that's how the "no motorcycles" sign works.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #295
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Originally Posted by 2TrakR View Post

This includes a key section needed to reach High Rock Bay, unless the road through The Nature Conservancy property on the north shore is used.
I'm not exactly sure how this works. I think the county might have easements on some of this land, as Cannon pointed out, a lot of these roads appear on county maps.

However, if you look at the maps, the road to high rock bay covers no CFR land: http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/mi-hunt/

It's all either private or state land.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:41 PM   #296
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Originally Posted by Askel View Post
So that's how the "no motorcycles" sign works.
The LUOD will close it to full size vehicles. You will not be able to legally drive to Fish Cove unless on an ATV or in an UTV.

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Old 04-17-2012, 06:46 PM   #297
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The LUOD will close it to full size vehicles. You will not be able to legally drive to Fish Cove unless on an ATV or in an UTV.
Ah, that's using the Clark Mine Rd. If you use the Mandan Rd, the one that starts at the end of US-41, you can still get to those locations. Or at least I assume so, the map you posted doesn't say anything about those.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:51 PM   #298
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Ah, that's using the Clark Mine Rd. If you use the Mandan Rd, the one that starts at the end of US-41, you can still get to those locations. Or at least I assume so, the map you posted doesn't say anything about those.
Access to Fish Cove would be limited as you use SM134 (Mandan) to reach it; even if coming in on Mandan from the north. All of SM134 will only be open to ATV/UTV.
Can still access High Rock by coming off US41 and running Mandan to the point where it meets SM134, then run the spur out to High Rock Bay which will remain open. Since much of the traffic to High Rock comes from Clark Mine Road, access will legally be affected.
The trick with running Mandan off of US41 is that it is not a county road and is crossing private property (which itself is not CFA land). There is no legal right for the public to use that section of Mandan road right now and is solely at the whim of the land owner.
Honestly there's not much more legal right on CFA land for motorized travel access, but at least there is some.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:53 PM   #299
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Ah, yeah- sorry. You're right about Fish Cove.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:55 PM   #300
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The root issue is that GMO, a major CFA land holding company here in the Keweenaw, was going to completely close trail access on their holdings here. This would cover anything but foot travel: no horses, no mountain bikes, not quads, no mudder trucks, no nothin. This would include large portions of the snowmobiles trail # 3 and #134.

The Keweenaw ATV club approached GMO and the DNR with a goal of brokering a deal for continued access. They asked for all use access and a 5 year lease. GMO replied with quad/side by sides only and 1 year lease....take it or we gate the trails. Their issue with cycles is liability and trail damage. Some dillweed in georgia got hurt on GMO land on a bike, sued, and won. Part of GMO's lease terms is that the trail be signed quad/SxS only with specific exclusion of cycles.

The Club and the DNR are moving forward with the quads/side by sides only plan. They want state funding for trail maintenance and law enforcement. The way state law is written there is no state trail designation for quads/side by sides that excludes all others. If there is no state designation, there is no state money. So this hearing was part of the process to get a special state trail designation for this particular chunk.

This limited access rule only applies to trail sections which run on rail grades that are not state owned. These trails cross private property on grades that are privately owned. This rule does not apply to county owned seasonal roads that run concurrent with the trail route in question. An example is Mandan Road, a road that is part of the UPAT route to High Rock Bay. It is a county seasonal road, also part of snowmobile trail 134 and part of this proposed restricted access trail.

The special signage that Brian showed earlier in this thread is the 'official' trail marker. The Club has posted these signs along the route on both private and public holdings as well as county roads that run concurrent with the trail. Of particular concern is the fact these signs say "NO CYCLES" when in fact they are posted on some county roads which are open to all ORVs. The Club states that this is to maintain continuity of signage along the route. They were extremely hostile to the idea of a slight change in signage between sections of the route that are concurrent with country roads and sections which are on private rail grade. They were also extremely hostile to the idea of showing on their maps or the state maps which sections run concurrent and which are private grade. During comments I raised the issue that their 'continutity of signage' is confusing to people who come here to ride from other places and do not know what is county and what is grade. Hell, I am not quite sure and I have tens of thousands of miles of dual sporting experience in this area alone.

Funding for this trail will come from the trail permit fund which we do pay into. The fact that 30% of the trail maintained from this fund is designated single track which is limited to 24" width vehicles. A counter point was raised that this is a physical restriction of trail geometry rather than a arbitrary ruling. This trail would amount to %1.5 of the state funded trail in the state of Michigan.

The Future
GMO is a very hard company to deal with. They were very cold toward the Club during negotiations. In fact there wans't really any negotiation rather GMO said 'this is what you can have, take it or we close the trails'. They denied a 5 year lease, the ATV club has to reapply every year to maintain the trail lease.

The DNR intends to push forward with efforts in the future to open the trail to everyone. Both through efforts to convince GMO to open it and efforts to out right purchase the rail grade for public land.

Now for my not quite so unbiased observations/opinions.

The main mouth piece for the Club is interesting. I mainly got this reading from his attitude toward meeting attendees. I understand that this process has been going on for 12 years and it is getting frustrating...but being snarky toward people asking questions is not the way to raise public support. His attitude about future expansion of access was 'we got what we want, we're done'. He was very hostile to all suggestions raised about the continuity of signage issue and possible solutions. He was very condescending to people representing other interests. There were several people there representing the four wheel drive truck club from the local college. This guy had a very 'Yoopers vs College Kids' attitude toward this particular group.

Group dynamics as a whole, the Club was probably out numbered 4-1 easy. There were well over 100 people crammed into a meeting room that comfortable held about a third of that. Lots of motor cycle riders there, a few granola crunchers, a few 4x4 truck people, and some people just generally interested in boosting tourism. As a whole the crowd was supportive of the idea of securing more trail but definitely unhappy with the way it was going to be done.

My thoughts for the impact on our future. Law enforcement was very understanding of our perspective. The meeting was attended by four LEO, two each from both the sheriff and the DNR. They both stated that in the event they found a cyclist on the trail they would take the whole situation into consideration. They understood the UPAT would be bringing people in from out of town who may not know what trails are what and might end up on a limited access section by mistake. They stated they would give them proper directions and no ticket. Now if they found a local kid tearing up ditch embankments and being a general ass-bat that would be a whole 'nother matter. They admitted that they were not entirely sure which sections of the trail would be grade and which would be county road.

I have not looked at Brian's UPAT or the UPDSS in a while. I will have to double check those routes against what the proposed route of this trail would be and which sections are grade or country road.
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