The DNR implemented these changes to improve safety and provide consistent guidance to the more than 90 non-profit organizations that maintain the trails.
A citizens' advisory workgroup (comprised of trail-riding enthusiasts, trail maintenance organizations, members of the DNR's Snowmobile Advisory Workgroup and the Michigan Snowmobile Association) made recommendations to the DNR, resulting in these upcoming changes.
Technical support for the workgroup was provided by recreation and law enforcement staff of the DNR and the U.S. Forest Service.
Changes include the elimination of 10 workgroup-selected snowmobile signs, the addition of five new snowmobile signs (plus guidelines for placement), and a reduction in the size of regulatory signs in the ORV program to make them consistent with snowmobile signage (already implemented in 2011). The changes also include replacing ORV trail markers with new, highly visible, yellow markers. Installation will be phased in over the next several years.
Signs being removed are: bridge ahead, chevron, deer crossing, drift area, narrow bridge, narrow trail, trail crossinng, truck traffic, two way trail and winding trail.
New snowmobile trail signs include:
The DNR will continue to mark 90-degree turns with "sharp turn" warning signs supplemented with a new directional arrow.
According to Bill Manson, executive director of the Michigan Snowmobile Association, "Several of the other snowmobile states and Ontario have reduced their signs and have seen a reduction in accidents. Our objective is to provide a safe, family-oriented trail system for snowmobiling in Michigan."
Yet another move pointing to the fact that the MSA is out of touch with the reall world.