Bob Voltenburg: After logging 1500 miles this season, I can honestly say that the reduction of trail signs did not
negatively impact our riding. However, there are a few areas that I would consider dangerous and definitely
need signs put back up. But the real danger on the trails does not come from the lack of signs; it comes
from the sledders that ride too fast and on the ragged edge of control or, more truthfully, out of control.
Unfortunately, less trail signs did not slow down the "speed junkie". Personally, I don't believe there is
any (reasonable) trail system change that can be implemented that will slow the "speed junkies" down and
make the trails safer. I hope I'm wrong!
Allan, Lois & Thaddeus Waggoner: After logging just over 1k miles this year. I have noticed the
trails are not any safer than in the past and more confusing. Ie, much easier to get confused and lost
while on the trail. How do we go about and getting the trail signs back up and user safe? This year all
of our riding was done in the lower half. I took many new riders up North this winter. The new riders
were thoroughly confused at nearly every intersection. This is not a good way to create more snowmobilers,
ie new riders to the sport. Please let me know how and when a meeting might take place to reintroduce the
trails signs. Your site is an invaluable site to use. We always look at the trailreports and frequent your reporters lodging. thanks again Al.
Bob Zeigler: First of All, I sincerely want to thank the groomer operators for the wonderful job they do for keeping
the trails in tip top shape. 3 of us from central PA just returned from a great week of riding the UP.
We left the truck at Newberry (Hollywoods Legends Motel) Sunday morning 2/24/13 and never saw it again
until Saturday night 3/2/13. We were as far east as the Soo and as far west as Silver City, as far north
as Copper Harbor and as far south as the Wisconson line and every point in between. We tracked 1473 miles
and had an awsome time doing so. This was my fourth trip to the UP and by far the best trip and the best
riding trails I have experienced in the UP. As far as the signage. Not an issue. Ride in control and there
will be no issues. Again thanks to all the hard working club members for the work they do. It is much
Tad L. Hershey: Hi Dave, Thank for your great website and reports. I've logged more than 8,000 miles in the UP since 2008.
When I first heard about the removal of trail signage, I was skeptical and questioned the impact it would
have on my snowmobiling experience. I just returned from a 450-mile long weekend riding in the Seney,
Paradise, Grand Marais areas and found the lack of signage to be quite refreshing. I lead our group more
that 50% of the time and found that I was more focused and engaged on the upcoming trails. The removal of
signage has beautified the forest, returning it to a more natural state. Riding in the UP is the ultimate
expression of freedom, with only self-imposed limits. I would estimate that my speeds were about what
they always have been, but I'm quite familar with these trails. If I were on unfamilar trails, I probably
would have been riding a little slower to anticipate unexpected turns/obstacles. Ultimately, snowmobilers
need to take full responsibility for their safety and experience. Don't drink and ride - ever! Stay on
the right side of the trial - always! Expect hidden obstacles, turns, animals, and other sledders.
Be responsible for yourself and your group. Don't rely on anyone to tell you how fast to go or when to
turn. Take responsibility for the safety and enjoyment of yourself and those around you. If you are
going to whine - stay home! Regards, MSA member & avid snowmobiler.
Karl Bullock: I used to snowmobile as a kid back in the mid 60s to early 80s. I got out of the sport for some time and
returned. What a joy it was when I returned to the sport back in 07. Nicely groomed and marked trails to
ride what a pleasurable way to spend a weekend. That is until now.
When I read the purposed new signage regulations I was not amuzed and had to wonder what kind of thoughts
are going thru these peoples minds....turn out....no thoughts what so ever. I personally have had more
close calls due to on coming traffic being surprised to
encounter a ninty degree change in trail direct that to avoid hitting me was secondary to neg the turn.
I have had more close calls than all previous years combined. I have missed turn and found myself on
unmarked trails. I have had friends hit by riders surprisef by turns. Not fun. This was supposed to be fun
and used to be, not anymore. I have been considering writing this letter for a while now. Today I had to. As I got home last night from a weekend of riding I learned of a friends death on the trail due to an accident which could have been avoided. As this person was a non drunker it us assured alcohol was not involved. What was unvolved was the missing turn inducator....or the small one right at the turn. He went straight when he could not make the turn and was found by another rider sometime later. Proper signage had been in place and working perfectly. Wkth no signage comes injury and death. I will not purchase permits to ride in Michigan until the signage changes back to a clearly marked trail ststem. Something we once had until pea brains decided to make some changes. Changes that put your life in danger. When that happens the fun and enjoyment are gone.
RIP Steve Piper
William Curtis: I just returned from riding 900 miles in the Central and Western UP. I was a bit
skeptical at first, but I personally had no problems with the signs being removed. The main concern I had
was during the whole ride I only saw 1 groomer he was doing a great job on the 120/121 loop near
Painesdale. If the State of Michigan, MSA, or whoever wanted to slow people down, they can just do what
the people who take care of Trails 12 around Ontonagon and 5. from Big Bay all the way to Sagola, Just don't take care of them! It couldn't have been from lack of snow. I happened to run into the groomer driver ( in the coffee shop) who supposedly takes care of trail 5 and expressed my concern. He didn't seem interested at all.
Thank you for this webste, your reports and everything you've done over the years, an avid follower.
Ken Raterink: I went riding in the northern lower this past Saturday. Groomers are doing a great job however I am quite
familiar with the area. I park at lot just north of manton and headed towards kalkaska. I was amazed at
how few signs there were even though I knew it was coming because of reading on here. Some sharp turns had
a single diamond reflector, some a arrow, some nothing. I only ride trails after dark and the reflectors
are always easy to see, but this trip I had several signs that were posted behind a tree or branch. Thats
where several signs in dangerous spot really helps.
Bob Voltenburg: We just returned from a week of riding in the Indian River area. There were a few turns that definitely
need to be marked, but not that bad overall. But, signs or no signs, there are still those riders out
there that are on the wrong side of the trail through every right hand turn they make!
I was nearly involved in a head on collision in the Petosky area (missed by a couple of inches). And the
reason this guy was on the wrong side of the trail, too much speed going into the right hand turn.
So, I ask all you speed junkies: Is the adrenalin rush you get while snowmobiling from the speed or from
the danger to yourself and others? If the adrenalin rush is from the speed, then go fast where it's safe
to go fast (not in the turns). If the adrenalin rush is from the danger, then get off the trails!
Anthony Marianiand: I am writing to inform you of my RAGE in the fact that the MSA and the state
of Michigan thought it would be a good idea to remove sinage off the trails. I came inches
away from death on this past Saturday after hitting an enourmous swell on trail 8, just west of trail 7.
It was 9 in themorning and we were out for a ride and before I knew it things went horribly wrong.
I was the lead riderand came on that huge dip in the trail and before i knew what happened I was unconscious
and my machine was destroyed. Thankfully I walked away from it but that same day 2 others did the same and one
is a 14 year old who is now in the ICU at Marquette hospital. I am certain that by now it has happened
again and will continue to occur. I hope that you feel good about your decision to remove signage! I plan
on calling the governors office tomorrow and taking legal action against the state. I am an experienced
rider of over 30 years and have never come across such a dangerous scenerio without some sort of marker. I
guarantee you someone else will not be nearly as lucky as I was in just loosing my snowmobile but rather in
loosing their life. I recommend you take immediate action and post signage warmning of the danger ahead!
When I paid formy sticker the day before I did not sign up for hazordous riding conditions. And just so
we are clear, I am a responsible rider and was in no way shape or form impaired. I am copying other riders
that I know and am going to encourage every rider I know to boycot riding your trails until this situation is rectified.
Brian Wood: I've ridden Michigan trails for about 10 years now and I've always bragged about how the trails were so
well marked and that the Michigan approach pertaining to this important part of the Michigan economy was
better than most other, if not all other states that have such trail systems. I, myself am a very experienced
rider who can ride aggressively and at the same time safely. Just a perspective to consider here.
I'm reading some of these comments regarding the signage removal and how we should all take it slow and
that this movement was not to save money and so on. It absolutely is about money. The state government
is enacting this in order to avoid future law suits. It's no secret that Michigan is in economic turmoil
and anyway to meet the budget and cut costs is going to be pursued. To think this is some sort of "we care"
movement is absurd and nieve. It's not goint to make trail riding any safer no matter what way you spin
the wheel on it. The fact is that no matter what type of signage you put up or take down there are always
going to be those individuals who get on their sleds and see their day's ride as an x games event. Just
the same as there are always going to be rider's who stop at every bar they can find and then hop right
back on their sled. It's going to happen either way as no system involving the human mind is perfect nor
with it ever be. I don't believe the answer is to remove measures that can make a rider more aware of
his/her surroundings. I rode recently out of Newberry for a few days and I noticed a difference, although
it wasn't enough of one that I won't come back and ride the trails. There were plenty of turns that came
up out of nowhere and almost caught me off guard and I wasn't going 70 mph either. The expectation of the
cautious mind, at least by some, is that we should all ride 30 mph and that's what this sport is all about.
I'm sorry, I don't drive 7 hrs from my home to ride 30-40 mph everywhere I go. If I wanted to do that I
would make a small snocross course at my house so I couldn't get up to speed any higher. I fear we are
turning this sport into another new age politically correct Americanized entity and it's only going to
lead to people becoming too paranoid to ride sleds and be involved in this subculture that so many love
and enjoy. If you want to be safe, control yourself and what you do on your sled, because you will never
be able to control anybody else riding out there. It's the risk we all take to grab a little adrenaline
and adventure while we can.
Dan: I ride mostly in the upper lower of Michigan. I didn't like the news when I heard it and after nearly
500 miles I still don't! Try riding the trails around Gaylord in snowy or night conditions and try to stay
on the trail when it moves from one side of power line to another. Trail 76,one of my favorites is like
playing russian roulette,no curve signs,no hill signs, no downhill signs. Trail to East Jordan, no narrow
bridge signs,you know how many narrow bridges are on that trail! I'm nearly 60 years old,I'd like to know
what's ahead on me when I leading a group of sledders,trail riding is suppose to fun not a god darn workout.
MSA thinking outside the box,they should quite giving ideas to the DNR. Remember the $10 trail sticker to
ride groomed trails,got tranlated to $45 to ride anywhere,even where there are no trails,thanks MSA.Dan H/hotdoo
Tim Waite: First off, I have to say that the trails in the UP were great is this past weekend, but trail 45 struck
again. It happened to another group of riders in front of us. We didn't see it happen, but the four of us
were the first on the scene. Apparently one guy hit the dip, headed toward the bank, then decided to bail.
He is fine, his Attack is wasted. No one is sure about the next guy and what exactly happened, but he was
laid out on the trail. His sled didn't have a mark on it. It ripped his helmet off making his head bleed
all over the place and we think he broke his arm or dislocated his shoulder. The sheriffs dept showed up,
ems showed up and a DNR officer showed up as well. EMS took the guy to the hospital. It is my
understanding that a bridge was removed from this spot and the trail has sunk. I can't comment on how fast
that group was going, but we did follow them into Newbery and they were not riding that fast. Two things
that I find interesting is that 1) while we were on the phone with 911, someone heard the deputy call back
and say he knew exactly where the accident was and 2) the same deputy ripped into the c.o. about getting
the spot marked before someone got killed. There were about 25-30 people stopped on the trail at the end,
and everyone had comments about the 'dip' and lack of signage at this particular spot. In my opinion, it
wouldn't matter if you are going 20 or 60 mph, you will be going for a ride when you hit it. And I
understand the concept behind removing the signs to slow people down, but I don't see MDOT removing signs
on the highway to slow people down.
Megan Kass:If you have rode in the Munising/Wetmore area you are probably very aware of the ditch/ravine type spot
that runs across trail 8 just west of 94. There had always been a steep hill warning at this location,
until this year due to the new sign changes. Trail 8 is nice and straight at this spot, and then it
suddenly takes a ~30ft drop then comes right back up. This spot it terrible, and NEEDS to have a warning.
You can see the groom trail on the other side very clearly and its so hard to recognize that dip until it
is too late. I was riding with a young gentleman this weekend that forgot that the spot was there, and hit
it. He had a very bad accident and was taken out by ambulance. He will be in the hospital for a few days,
and is extremely lucky to be alive. He has been riding this area for years, but if you forget that spot is
there, it WILL get the best of you. As we tried to wrap our head around the crash we ran into many others
that said they had all had close calls at the same spot, with some being pitched over their handle bars,
etc. I cant tell you enough about how bad this spot is, the fact that there is no sign is unacceptable.
Please everyone use extreme caution there.
John L: In reference to the 2013 Michigan Snowmobile Trail Signs new scare tactic system. I have been riding
sleds all my life and until this year I have never seen anything as ignorant as what we did with our trail
warning signs in Michigan, we just stepped back 40 years in the making of a great trail system. I blame
the State and the DNR for my injuries and almost deadly accident I had on Friday Feb 1, 2013. I riding
with my wife just past dark at about 7pm, we were traveling west on trail 7/8 where just prior to where #7
splits and goes north to Christmas. we had just stopped and decided to spilt from our group and slow down
since my wife was getting used to a new sled. We were going about 40 mph on a trail I know well, when we
hit that well known huge dip in the trail where I think they put in a gas pipe line through the railroad
bed which is Trail 7/8 and normally 15 ft higher than the surrounding ground along side the trail.
(The dip is approximately 50 ft. wide by 15 ft. deep from normal trail height) There was always a sign
that said Caution "DIP " I know this trail well, but even so.. running at night, with no visual aids, at
what I think is a reasonable speed. I hit this dip with no warning, and caught another hole on the other
side, the upside where sleds flying over the dip had hit. I lost control when I hit the hole, flew forward
through my windshield, then hit my kill switch ( not sure which order) while the sled stopped abruptly and
threw me to the side off my sled with torn knee, shoulder and aching back , as I lay there for a very few
short seconds knowing my wife was behind me and closing in, I managed to roll once toward the edge of the
trail as she did came within inches of my head. I give her credit , she bounced the same as me but managed
to see my warning taillights prior to my tumble and came to a safe stop,she came running over to me crying,
she could have killed me if she had hit me. We both vowed right then to either quit sledding in Michigan or
crusade to get some common sense back into snowmobile trail signs. I worked for years at GM on developing
Employee and Equipment visual controls for safety (signage), we reduced injuries to the point when we were
the world benchmark for safety. We would never go out and make snap decisions effecting safety with out
actual records or using a trial area and never in retaliation of a law suit? Like I understand the State
did. (not sure if True of or False) I went back to my accident spot in the morning, the dip was much
clearer in daylight, so as I video taped people hitting the dip ( it is unsafe by any means) and I still
wondered if the DNR and State Regulators are so concerned about accidents, whey not fix the issues they
used to warn us about. If we are not going to add signs, then lets fill the dip, it serves no purpose,
lets straighten the hair pin turns, add two directions of travel on sharp 90's. They do it on roads all
the time, Lets widen the 6 one lane bridges on the Haywire Trail #8 ( 2 of which are on curves) before we
meet head on and die "which used to have warning signs". Lets make Michigan the showplace for safe
snowmobile travel. I think the State needed to do research, they needed to evaluate each area individually
before painting the whole State trail system with a broad lets scare em to death brush. I urge everyone to
write your congressman, write the DNR and write your forums. We are all effected by this State wide trial
for 2013, united we can change this for the better, scaring us into a slow speed is not the best answer,
why we did not test a small first for effect, this is crazy, someone should be out of a job.. John Loman,
Bay City, Michigan PS. Today as I write this my neighbor is in tears as she learns her 44 yr old son ,
father of 2 kids is being air lifted to St Mary's Saginaw, critical condition unconscious for I understand
he hit a dip and culvert by Lumberman's monument area, where the State recently removed a danger sign.
this has to get fixed now.
Joe Discianno: I agree with you on all the problems you encountered this year. I just returned from a trip where we put on 500 miles in 4 days and I lead most of the time. In some situations there is no rhythm or reason how they mark the trails, why does one 90 degree turn get a arrow sign and another does not.
In another situation the trail went right but appeared to go straight ( old trail route did go straight at one time but they rerouted years ago) the 90 degree turn was marked with a white arrow sign, yes a white sign almost impossible to see, you could see were a lot of tracks went straight.
Just my opinion but they seemed to have gone from too many signs to almost none, maybe they get rid of the stop signs next.
Todd Somerville: Just back from the Eastern UP from a trip over the weekend of 2.2. My wife and I have been up to Grand Marais three times this season with another trip planned over the President's Day weekend. We average 250-300 miles over a couple of days. I run up front to protect her, as she just started riding last year. We are hardly trail demons. We average 250-300 miles over a couple of days of nice touring and seeing the sights. Crisp Point Lighthouse is one of our favorite stops.
Back to last weekend, we ranged from Grand Marais to Shingleton to Seney to Pine Stump and Paradise. We stayed away from Newberry. The trails were beyond awesome and the traffic wasn't that bad, with most signaling their numbers in line, and staying on their side of the trail.
And the groomers were out in force! The trails were the best I had ever seen them.
There were a few turns, some 270s, on trail 9 between the 431 intersection and Pine Stump that need to be
marked, and you could tell by the number of tracks going into the woods. Do the groomers have any discretion
to add signs, when they see something like this develop or do we have to wait for somebody to get seriously
Craig Sortor: I wanted to clarify some facts for all of the riders and your readers. I have read the posts and I would
agree that there have been numerous close calls and even some injuries, but the reduction in signs is not
money related. Hell, it cost the state money to have them removed. The idea comes from our neighbors in
the north, Canada. They experienced riders that were pushing the limits as the sleds improved their ride
and performance. The riders were simple driving too fast which led to more injuries and fatalities. They
decided to remove signs and this eventually led to riders slowing down because of the "unknown". This is a
family sport where everyone should be allowed to ride without worrying about the other sledder barreling
down the trail at 70-90 mph. I have a son and I want him to be ready to start driving soon, but I'm scared
to death that one of these idiots is going to come around a corner and cause an accident. Trust me, I love
cracking that throttle and feeling the skis pull off the snow and holding it down until she creeps up to
80…90 mph, but there is a time and a place for that. We need everyone to wait for the opportunity, know
the terrain your riding and crack the throttle when its SAFE!!! Let's put our big boy pants on, stop
pointing fingers and be responsible enthusiast instead of this sense of entitlement we have going on right now.
Glen Erickson: Hi Dave, I thought I'd relay my feelings on the MSA and trail signage this year.
A year ago, I signed up to be an MSA member believing I would be helping the sport. My 1 year membership
left me wondering what exactly this organization is doing for the Michigan snowmobiler. After the initial
canned letter welcoming me to the organization with promises that I would soon be receiving other
correspondence from the MSA (which never arrived), I began to get the feeling that the MSA was treating me
like a bug (to put it in a PG rated term). It wasn't long into my membership that I decided I would never
join the MSA again. It seemed like they only cared about getting my money. Yes, I know some may say I'm
cutting off my nose in spite my face since they benefit snowmobilers' rights. The direction the MSA is
heading in under it's current president is the wrong direction for Michigan snowmobilers. My view was
further verified by the trail sign changes (what IS the real reason, since I've heard several : getting
riders to slow down OR to prevent lawsuits?) and other riders' comments I've read.
Regarding the dangerous places (like the hole on trail 45 which has apparently wrecked quite a
few sleds already), maybe the snowmobilers can take it upon themselves to warn other riders by wrapping
yellow construction tape around the trees along the trail in that area or putting up their own warning
sign (since the MSA isn't interested in eliminating the danger)?
It's interesting that the most snowmobile fatalities every year seem to be intoxicated riders
who run into trees, automobiles, lake docks at wide open throttle, or fall through thin ice or, in
general, in OFF-TRAIL situations. (I read the official fatality reports every year.) Personally, I am
not expecting any impact on the numbers of fatalities and injuries as a direct result of removing trail
signs. But who knows? If they prove me wrong, I'll be the first person to lobby the state to remove the highway signs warning of deer crossings, bumps, icy bridges, divided highways, blacktop ending, two-way traffic, intersections, street name signs one half mile ahead telling you the name of the road coming up, and curves ahead. If it works for snowmobilers, it should work for motorists also.
Stay safe out there on our undersigned trails.
James Haist: After reading your comments about what you have experienced on the trails, due to lack
of signage, would it be possible to have some video footage of the issues, so people can actually see some
of the scenes? If we can see you are riding reasonable, and still missing corners because of no signs, or
hitting holes that aren't posted, it might make more of an impact on how MSA/DNR's sign change decisions
have affected our sport. I believe with the video technology you have, you can show how we now have trails
that are worse than they were 20 years ago. Ironically, I've been a member of MSA for years, and just got
my renewal notice. I have not renewed yet. I'm still wondering if I want to. MSA used to support my sport,
to the point they have asked me to send letters to different states (Yellowstone for one example) as well
as government officials in our own state. NOT ONE TIME did they ask me about changing the signage on the
trails I ride on! They ask me to do everything else to support our sport, and I have...and in return, I
get trails that I can no longer take the same trips I've taken for over 10 years. Canada is starting to
look better and better.
Clint: Dave, I absolutely agree with you. Way to many Y or splits in the trail where I had no idea
which way the trail went. Happened yesterday on trail 43 about 10 miles north of seney. It also happened
down in kalkaska in the 1st of the season. Its just ridiculous.
Derrick Fredritz: We too were victimized by the gulley on trail 45 from Newberry to Paradise. Did anyone see the Ski Doo
Monument stuck in the snow bank along side of the trail. We are not exactly sure what happened as the
rider doesn't remember….rattled his cage to say the least. That hole is going to seriously hurt someone.
Hey Michigan, fill it in. Put a tile under it if you need to, its not a difficult fix.
We just returned from snowmobiling in the Harbor Springs area. I'll have to admit that I like the beauty
of less signs on the trail, but I don't think it is safer. We ride very conservatively (usually the
slowest sleds out there) and never at night, so the lack of signs didn't seem to matter much to us.
However, there are several 90 degree turns on the trails in the Harbor Springs area that do not have a
sign on them. This is very dangerous. One 90 degree turn in particular stands out in my mind. It's on
trail 710 as you're heading south. If you miss this turn you would literally fly off a cliff down to the
power line. Let's at least get the dangerous turns marked.
Dave, Gull Lake,MI:
We put 600 miles on the sleds 1/24-1/27 in the central/eastern UP, Munising, Grand Marais, Pine Stump, Newberry, Seney....considering the traffic the trails were pretty good and we had a great time, but it's amazing how quickly the bumps develop. we got first tracks Sat.
morning before sunrise and the ride east was amazing!! I noticed around 8-10 90 degree turns with no arrow signs...and at nearly every one you could see tracks where sleds blew right through the corner and had to double back to make the turn...very dangerous for
oncoming traffic. We know the area very well so it's not too big of a deal, but i hate to think about going to new trails and not having 90 degree corners marked. Another observation....the "followers" in a group of sleds have got to do a better job of keeping right...it's amazing
how the lead sled is always on top of things...but as you encounter the following sleds they seem to be blindly following and are often way too far to the inside(left) in corners.
Brent Berry: I just returned from a trip to Halfway Lake, northwest of Newberry. Not to
sound like a broken record, but my group also experienced the aforementioned "hole" on trail #45 headed
towards the falls. I've been riding sleds since I was old enough to start my dad's old Polaris TXL 340 in
the early 80's (I'm 35 now) and have ridden trail #45 many times to the falls without any problems…until
this year. I was leading our group to the fall's brewery Saturday evening for dinner, comfortably
cruising around 50-60 mph. About a mile north of Skyline Rd. (C.R. 510) we approached a bridge across a
small creek. The only problem was I didn't know that we were approaching a bridge because there were no
signs or warnings of any kind! I hit the hole (and I use the word "hole" lightly, more like a crater) and
it launched my sled, nose up, almost completely vertical. I cleared the bridge and miraculously landed
unscathed. The second rider in our group hit the hole at the same speed with the same result. He did
lose grip of his handlebars for a moment but managed to stay on the sled and keep it on the trail. My dad
was the third rider to hit the hole, only he wasn't as lucky as us first two. His sled also launched
vertical, but stayed vertical and landed on the rear bumper. Upon landing, the impact threw him off the
right side of the sled and left him tumbling down the trail while the sled went off the left side of the
trail into the deeper snow and brush. Thankfully he was not seriously injured and his sled was not
damaged too bad (broken rear bumper, lost idler wheel, small bend on the running board and peeled the rear
of the tunnel up so that the snow flap now sticks out horizontal to the ground like a beaver tail) but it
could've been much, much worse. This could've easily been avoided with a small, yellow "bridge ahead" sign.
The rest of our trip was spent wondering who the genius was that decided it would be best to remove signs
from the trails. Unfortunately it will probably take a few fatalities on the trail for those in charge to
realize that removing signs was a HUGE MISTAKE!!!
That bad spot on trail 45 that you know is bad, they have now placed a caution sign there but they are
right at the dip, so you still have no advance warning, I also have ridden that trail for years and now
own a cabin close to that area just unreal. I also agree with the other guys statement about the bridges
and no signs (bridge) there not only for the holes that do develop but also how most trails are groomed
wider than those bridges and somebody will hit the railings which most times are only a couple feet high
or miss the bridge completely.
Dave Dudansky: Trail 45 from Newberry to Paradise just 12 to 15 miles southwest of the falls Brewery, there is an unmarked hole and
thanks to our wonderful state and their brilliant idea to remove the trail signs my buddy amongst others
went over the bars right there. When we came up on the hole there was plastic from other snowmobile's
scattered everywhere, so I know he was not the only person to lose control in that spot. Its located just
after the logging operation where it turns back to groomed trail. looks as if it may be a small river in
the spring time. Thanks
Steve Hinsberger: I would consider myself an experienced snowmobiler. I too like to ride fast
when it is safe and would not put my life into danger by riding over my ability and respect all other
snowmobilers on the trail. With this said, my friends and I went to Paradise this weekend for our first trip up north and had a bad experience with trail #45.
All day there was no problem with the signs. Some turns would catch you off guard for a second but not a
big deal. The signs that I feel need to be put back up wouold be the "Bridge Ahead" signs. My friends
and I rode 192 miles on Friday 1-25-13 with out any problems. We had just stopped in Newberry to fill up
with fuel. We got back onto trail #45 to head to Paradise. The trail was great, it was real smooth and
we had no problem going 60-70mph when we were able to. As we got about 15 miles away from Newberry, I was
still leading. The trail was flat/smooth and I had no idea there was a bridge or some sort of hole in the
trail. Any snowmobiler that has been riding for a while knows that bridges get a big hole at the start of
them and after them. If there was a sign warning of a bridge ahead, I would have slowed down due to
knowing there could be a big bump in front of it. Instead I was traveling very comfortably at 60-70mph
and had no idea that there was any type of bridge coming up. (im not sure if it was a bridge, there was no
railings, but there was definitly a stream that went under the trail) At the last second I saw a caution
sign emerge from behind a pine tree, the signs that are usually right at the start of a bridge. Right as
I saw this, I saw the large hole that was across the entire trail at this sign. I had absolutly no
warning this was coming up and was not able to see it until the last second. My sled hit the hole which
launched my sled into the air. I got thrown off the back of it while my sled continued a complete
backflip in the air. I hit the ground on my butt and slid for a long time. My sled landed on the back
tunnel, bending it and derailing the track and bending the rails. It also made my left ski get pushed
under my sled. Totaling my sled!!! This was the only time in my life where I thought I was going to die.
If there was any type of warning of this bridge or dip in the trail, this would not have happened. It was
a mistake for the State to remove these signs!!! WAY TO GO!
Jeremy Cortright:In this picture, click here, there aren't any trail markers for 400 yards or so. At night it
would be very easy to take the dangerous path to the left. The trail was very well marked until this field.
To warn other riders this is just north of m72 on trail 3 heading towards Maple City! We're told to stay
on the trail! How can we when we don't know where the trail is without markers!
Chris: I am a veteran sledder, appreciate the snow, cold , and all the groomers!!!
I am a business owner and am well aware of outrages lawsuits!!! I love the speed and power of my 1200 sled and live for zipping threw the trails. I also ride with respect and assume another rider is coming around the next corner. If we all ride well within our abilities and have respect for other sledders I see NO ISSUES with the changes. If your riding so hard you cannot see the trail and are chasing your friends tail light you have already set yourself up to live or die with your buddies decisions and or mistakes and are riding to fast to read signs anyhow! If it saves the state lawsuits and lets our awesome sport continue when things are being cut and we continue to get groomed trails and the most important signs then hail to whom ever made the decisions. And as far as those who claim that they will leave the sport or not come back should probably just stay out of the cold anyhow!!! Also thank you Dave for the most awesome website in the world!
Yes I am one of those that check your site in the middle of summer just to be a little closer to the idea of sledding!!!! I appreciate and enjoy your site more than you
know! Sincerely a veteran sled head!!
Dean Lennard: While riding in the UP between Xmas and New Years I can see where they really need to put the bridge ahead
signs back up. Riding on Trail 8 from the Shingleton area with snow coming down we really missed the
bridge ahead signs. Riding in toward the back of a group of 8 sleds it was very hard to see the signs at
the bridges. Thankfully, being familiar with the trail I was expecting them, but for someone new to the
area this could have been a very dangerous situation.
Jack Pitonyak: Hi I would classify myself as a
very experienced rider I luv to ride I always ride first thing in the morning with less traffic &
hopefully fresh grommed trails. I took a ride Sun. before New Year from Gaylord to the lakes of the north
& back I am very familiar with those trails but on my way back just south of Mancelona rd after the trail
goes in the woods off Lynn lk. Rd there was a straightaway where I was traveling at a good speed around
35-40 & it looked like the trail went straight because it was a 2 track but as I got closer I saw a new
sign that was posted to turn 90 degree right it was a small sign & couldn't see it untill you were a certain
distance from it due to some brush I saw it just in time to lock my brakes up & make the turn as another
rider came from the other direction & stopped in the middle of the turn I don't know why maybe to figure
out which way the trail went or wait for his group I don't know he did nothing wrong at all but I do know
if I did not catch that sign it was a 100 percent guaranteed T BONE!! I hated that feeling. Please keep
the signs up the 90 degree turns are brutal but if they are marked like a couple in the lakes of the sort
of by manistee river rd. some of the heavy pine trees they have like three signs with an arrow a little
bit before the sharp turns that makes me feel like my sled is driving itself I luv that feeling.
PLEASE GIVE THE BRUTAL TURNS THEIR ATTENTION . That one sign did good but I think it could have been
marked better & I don't care how experienced you think you are, accidents still happen please everybody
turn it down a notch (I did)& ride with caution like somebody is coming around every turn.
Chuck Reiman: Dave we probably won't be heading north this year do to the safety hazard of removing the signs. We
figured we would just go to upstate New York where we at least feel like the snowmobile clubs and
association are somewhat looking out for the general safety of the riders in the area. We will miss
seeing you out on the trails this year.
Charles: I was wondering what the work crews were doing this past summer with all the corner markers they had in
back of their truck, seems like with all my friends that ride that none of us knew about these changes.
My experience was on a trail i hadn't ridden in a few years, Me and my 2 riding buddies (I have rode with
these men for 12 years never 1 problem) all missed a corner after a long straight away, we may have been
going 50 (putting along on a straight away) but with all of our years experience none of us seen the snow
covered trail lead up into the woods. Thankfully with our experience we had enough time to react and
prevent something bad from happening. Who in their right mind actually think that if you take away a sign
that you will slow riders down. What they have done is created something significantly more dangerous. We
depend on those signs, not just the corner but the drift areas and the narrow path ahead. When these signs
appear on the trail it was a heads up to slow down, now i imagine riders will be maintain their hi speeds
through these dangerous areas. It is not safer!
Shane Doot: Dave,I'm sure their will be some tweaking to do but I like it. Less clutter out in the woods, less costly, and
it makes you ride the trail not the signs. You can't sign every nuance of the trail anyway, so its best
just to give a notice of anything major that you can't readily see by paying attention. Just my opinion. Thanks.
Douglas Fisher:The only trail signed I missed during a 500 mile trip in the eastern U.P. -- I led for all but maybe 15
miles -- between the holidays was the bridge ahead sign. I came upon a bridge too fast before I noticed
it and there was a big gouge out of the center of the bridge where there was no snow with nearly about 8
inches of packed base around it. My sled hit the bottom of that gouge hard despite me peppering on the
brake when I first noticed there was indeed a bridge there. I was probably going 50 before hitting the
brake maybe 10 to 15 yards before I realized I was coming upon a bridge. A lot of bridges cannot be
determined from any distance. Moguls on both sides of bridges are always dangerous, but this snowless
gouge in the middle of this bridge was particularly dangerous. Bridge ahead is a much needed warning.
As for the other signs DNR got rid of, I can do without them. The new corner sign is a lot smaller than
the old one but at least they didn't remove it altogether. That's what I thought they were doing when
they announced the chevron sign was disappearing.
Jeremy Cortright: I have been riding for 18 years and have never broken a bone snowmobiling until now! Dec 28 at 7:00 pm I
was riding trail 3 to Maple City with my uncle. When we crossed m72 the trail was very poorly marked so I
was trying to stay in the middle with the most tracks traveling around 35 to 45 mph and I followed what I
was sure was the trail and ran into a hill which bucked me off and I broke my wrist. My sled shut off and
my uncle followed the same trail and about ran me over lying on the ground. We both were confused about
where the trail was with all the tracks everywhere. I called my wife to to take me to the ER. The next
morning my uncle returned to investigate and found that the trail takes a 90 there with no sign to warn us
or anyone else in the dark! He also found pieces of helmet from others who hit the hill as well! I really
liked having those signs while riding at night! I don't understand the lawsuit problem since the state and
the dnr have immunity from them!
Tom Wolak: Reading your comments about the trail that turned brought back a memory of an incident I had. I had nearly the exact same scenario that you described. The trail looked
straight. I came over a slight rise to find a huge pile of snow where the snowplow had stopped plowing. The trail took a sharp left I wasn't as fortunate as you I crashed.
When the others in my group saw my sled off of the trail they stopped and the last sled in the group rear ended the sled in front of him. Those sleds were totaled, one
of them was brand new on its first trip. I was able to ride my sled it had only minor damage from a light hit with a tree. The GOOD part was no one was hurt.
I spoke to people in the MSA to perhaps put a sign but they weren't very interested. I was like you probably doing about 35 miles per hour on a well groomed trail.
Matt Banks: I love your comment after the 1-12-13 report: 'Many of the warning signs will be removed with the idea of
slowing riders down but mostly it's about stopping law suites'. I find this particularly funny that some
lawmaker somewhere thinks removing the warning sign will lessen the frequency at which the state gets sued.
We should take this idea to toys with small objects. Or maybe we should remove the warning labels from acid
bottles to prevent burning. Whoever made the decision to take the signs down please publish your information
so we can flog you directly. If you post a warning sign and someone ignores it or gets hurt it lessens the
effect of a lawsuit just based on the fact that you clearly marked it and the prosecutor was clearly
ignoring it. That's why warning signs were put up in the first place. If anything taking them down is a
clear sign that the state of michigan wants to get sued. I will be suing the state if I feel that a sign
would have prevented me from being maimed during a recreational sport. I didn't pay $45 per trail permit
for them to take down signs. If anything I paid for them to add more.
Avid rider of 23 years
Jim McVicar: My wife and I just returned from several days of snowmobiling in Kalkaska, Missaukee, Crawford and
Roscommon counties. We have ridden in that area for many years. We have a vacation home in Kalkaska
county and spend time there throughout the year. The new trail signage protocol is a huge step in the
wrong direction. I spoke with many trail riders and with law enforcement officers who felt the same way.
Removing informative trail signs in hope that riders would slow down and exercise more caution is simply
ridiculous.Conscientious riders are being put at increased risk in hopes that lawsuits will be avoided.
What kind of crazy logic came up with that scenario? I would hope the decision will be reviewed and a
better solution is found. I think more signs would be a better response than less signs.
Tim Slusser: I just got back from my first ride this season at Houghton lake. I'm an experienced, aggressive rider and I
know the trails very well by my cottage. The biggest change I noticed was the lack of turn chevrons, and
the corner signs were very hard to see. This was especially dangerous and confusing when the trail turns
off a two track but the road or two track keeps going straight. Visual cues are very important no matter
how fast or slow you ride, especially in snow blinding conditions. I can only see the number of accidents
vastly increasing with this new system. Very poor thought process went into this decision. I would suggest
at the very least reestablishing the turn chevrons. We don't need an increase of news headlines talking
about how many snowmobilers died or were injured this season. Bad press will only add fuel to the
supporters who would love nothing more than to kill our sport. PUT THE SIGNS BACK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!