Motor Vehicle Use on the Huron-Manistee National Forests

Release Date: Jul 2, 2012

Contact(s): Kenneth Arbogast

Huron ORV Trail
July 2, 2012                                                         For immediate release


Motor Vehicle Use on the Huron-Manistee National Forests


Visitors to Northern Michigan who wish to ride off-road vehicles (ORVs) must be aware that the rules are different in the Huron-Manistee National Forests than on other public roads or lands.


On the Huron-Manistee National Forests, ORVs that are not street-legal require a valid state ORV tag and may be ridden only on designated trails. It is the responsibility of the ORV rider to know whether they are riding in an authorized area or on an authorized trail.  To help visitors locate safe and legal routes for the type of vehicle they drive, the Forest Service publishes a free Motor Vehicle Use Map that is updated each year.


During the past few years, several counties in Michigan’s lower peninsula have passed ordinances that allow the use of ORVs on the right hand portion of county and township roads.  These ordinances do not apply to Forest Service roads, whether paved or unpaved. 


An ORV rider may find that limited segments of certain roads that are part of the designated trail system where ORVs and street legal vehicles travel together. These areas are clearly signed and indicated on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. This limited mixed use is permitted to meet resource management objectives that protect sensitive ecosystems and/or critical wildlife habitats, and to provide a safe, legal and designated ORV trail system.


The Forest Service does not permit ORV use on its roads because of concerns over public safety and liability. The manufacturers of ORVs discourage their use on roads because the vehicles may become unstable when on pavement. The language of the state law that permit counties to adopt the new ordinances exempts counties and townships from liability while at the same time clearly stating that ORVs may not be used on public lands contrary to their management policy.


For information on trails that are open to ORV use on the Huron-Manistee National Forests or to receive a Motor Vehicle Use Map, please call:


Huron National Forest:

Mio Ranger District: 989-826-3252                            Huron Shores Ranger Station: 989-739-0728

Manistee National Forest:

Baldwin Ranger District: 231-745-4631                    Manistee Ranger District: 231-723-2211