Feb. 4, 2016
DNR offers 2-stroke snowmobile sound testing Feb. 20 in Marquette, Newberry, Gaylord
Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are offering snowmobile sound testing from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 20, at the DNR customer service centers in Marquette, Newberry and Gaylord. Sound testing is offered only for 2-stroke machines manufactured after 1980. Conservation officers also will be available during this time to answer snowmobile law-related questions.
“Decibel-level enforcement has increased this winter to ensure snowmobilers are in compliance with state law and acceptable noise levels, which ensures a better experience for everyone on the trails,” said 1st Lt. Pete Wright. “There is a zero tolerance for sound violations. These sound-testing events offer a great opportunity to make certain your sled is within legal decibel levels.”
The sound test, which takes approximately 10 minutes to perform, includes:
- Placing the snowmobile in a designated test area (no objects within a 16-foot radius of the snowmobile).
- Placing the sound meter 4 feet above the ground and 13 feet 1.5 inches from the centerline of the machine, on the same side as the exhaust.
- The operator, while holding the brake, increasing engine speed until the tachometer reaches 4,000 RPMs +/- 250, and then keeping at that speed for four seconds.
- Repeating the test once.
- Averaging the two test readings to produce the final result.
Any test result above 88 decibels is failing. No enforcement action will take place should the snowmobile test non-compliant. If the snowmobile sound test fails, snowmobile owners are encouraged to replace the modified exhaust with the original exhaust system from the snowmobile manufacturer. This action will ensure the snowmobile is compliant when on the trail.
Under Michigan law, the muffler on a snowmobile must be in good working order and, when in constant operation, noise emission cannot exceed 88 decibels at 13.1 feet, as measured using the 2004 Society of Automotive Engineers standard J2567 for a stationary snowmobile manufactured after July 1, 1980.
This winter, 14 sound violation tickets have been issued in Michigan through Feb. 2. Enhanced enforcement efforts, aimed at keeping snowmobiling an enjoyable, safe and available experience for everyone, focus on the DNR-managed trail systems, high-use areas and areas where complaints are received. The penalty for violating the sound levels for snowmobiles is a civil infraction, with fines up to $250.
Because approximately 50 percent of Michigan’s 6,200 miles of designated snowmobile trails pass through private land, snowmobile noise violations can have a negative lasting impact on the state’s trail riders.
“Michigan’s vast snowmobile trail system is the result of partnerships with private landowners who, through annual permits between the landowners and snowmobile clubs, open portions of their land for snowmobile trails,” Wright said. “Without these partnerships, the expansive, interconnected trail system enjoyed by thousands of snowmobilers each year wouldn’t exist.”
When snowmobilers behave unethically or illegally, including running snowmobiles with illegal decibel levels, private landowners can and have opted out of signing another annual agreement, and trails have closed.
For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, including current laws and regulations, go to www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.
Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more about Michigan conservation officers at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.
Sign up for the weekly DNR conservation officer academy blog, following recruits as they go through 22 weeks of training during Recruit School No. 7. View all past blogs from this recruit school.
SNOWMOBILERS WIN !
Proof that there is strength in numbers!
Because of the volume of calls to Munising Visitors Bureau and Alger County Road Commission, both parties felt the need to sit down again and revisit the closure of Trail 422! In a public meeting at 1:00PM today Dec 17 2015 ACRC agreed to allow snowmobiles on the 2000 ft of H-58 connector to Miners Castle for 1 more year as long as Munising Visitors Bureau agreed to aggressively work on a suitable reroute to be in place for next year! Both parties were happy that a suitable solution could be reached and snowmobilers WIN!
Update Dec 5 2015
Snowmobile Trail #422 from Trail #8 to Miner’s Castle in the Pictured Rock’s National Lakeshore will be closed. Permission to use 2000’ of H-58 has been denied by the Alger County Road Commission. The reason for the denial stems from a 2013 claim to the DNR that snowmobiles damaged the paved driving lanes and posed a hazard to motor vehicles.
The trail is near Munising, Mi, the snowmobile Capitol of the US, and the trails are maintained by the Munising Convention & Visitors Bureau (MCVB)
I think that MSA needs to focus on the fact that Snowmobilers already pay gas tax and the ACRC should not be asking for more $ from snowmobilers.
Here is how the formula works now:
.19 cents of every gallon of gas sold in the state creates the gas tax fund. (Can’t tell you how much)
2% of this fund creates the Recreation Improvement Fund (RIF) Again can’t give you a number!
Of the RIF fund it is spent on the following:
80% Goes into the Boaters Fund for development of launches and harbors
14% to the Snowmobile Trail Improvement Fund (STIF) About 2.4 million
6% goes to fund non motorized recreation,hike,bike, walk CC ski trails.
My point is we don’t get all of it. Example using WI and MN snowmobile formula to return gas tax to their snowmobile programs this is what we should see.
.19 per gallon collected
125 gallons X .19 = $23.75 X 230,000 registered Snowmobiles in Michigan = $5,462,500
Just as an FYI……..Average Snowmobiler drives 1500 miles per season divided by 12 mi to gallon = or an average of 125 gallons per yr.
So we still pay our fair share into gas tax, and about 3 million goes to MDOT and County Roads get for damage to crossings.
Look to the November Michigan Snowmobile News for a list of legislators in our state.
We are asking you to call upon your state legislator and let them know how important this is to you and our smooth trails.
Ask them to help you the snowmobiler, to help our chosen recreation!
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2015
MSA needs you! The future of your sport needs you! This is an official call to action on behalf of the future of organized snowmobiling in Michigan!
After considerable discussion and calls to our state legislators, we are sad to report that we still can’t find a legislator to introduce our new Trail Permit bill. They are all afraid of raising taxes. Let me stress, our proposal is not, would not, be a tax increase. It is a “pay to play” system, and we already do that. We support our sport, and just want to assess ourselves differently. We have always paid our own way.
Our proposal is to raise the trail permit fee for those riders who are not members of the Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA). Perhaps a better way to put it is a new discounted trail permit for MSA members. Again, we have not been able to secure a sponsor for our bill.
You Can Make a Difference
If you think you can’t make a difference, you are wrong. When our legislation has been stalled in the past, we have asked you to contact your state legislators, and they have heard your voices. In fact after our last call to action, we were contacted by several legislative offices and asked what they could do to stop the phone calls and letters.
What they can do — is sponsor our trail permit legislation, which has already been written and waiting for a bill sponsor. Wisconsin, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, all passed legislation to offer trail permits to the members of the state association at a discounted price.
Keep in mind that if our funding mechanism isn’t changed, the snowmobile program will suffer. The groomed trails will suffer, and suffer greatly. Who is going to suffer if changes are not made? You, the snowmobiler, is going to suffer.
MSA Members Would Receive Discounts on Trail Permits
PROPOSED LEGISLATION WOULD READ:
The fee for a snowmobile trail permit sticker shall be discounted $25 if all of the following apply: The purchaser is a member in good standing of the Michigan Snowmobile Association, a nonprofit corporation, with an individual or family membership. In the case of a family membership, only the purchaser of the membership is considered to be a member for purposes of this subsection. The Membership is an individual or family membership. The sticker is sold by the Michigan Snowmobile Association as the department’s agent under subsection (8). An individual shall not purchase under subsection (2) more than the following number of discounted stickers for the same 1-year period unless the individual owns a number of snowmobiles equal to or greater than the total number of discounted stickers purchased: (A) If the individual has an individual membership in the Michigan Snowmobile Association, 2 stickers. (B) If the individual has a family membership in the Michigan Snowmobile Association, 4 stickers. (4) The Michigan Snowmobile Association may require an individual to submit snowmobile registrations and vehicle identification numbers to verify the number of snowmobiles owned by the individual for the purposes of subsection (3)
Note: Permits will be $60 each; the discounted cost to an MSA member will be $35 if purchased through MSA, a certified Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agent.
The cost of a MSA membership is $25, add that to the cost of a $35 permit and both are equal — $60.
The incentive to be an MSA member is you can buy multiple permits at the discounted rate. MSA members will also get continuous updates on safety, education, new trails or closures throughout the year.
Why We Need This Legislation
The cost of grooming equipment and maintenance continues to rise while funding for the Snowmobile Trail Improvement Program continues to remain the same, even decrease. The cost of fuel has stabilized, but the cost of equipment will continue to increase. Something has to change.
The average cost of a John Deere tractor, fully equipped with Soucy tracks now costs more than $265,000. Last month I explained that we have to dip into next year’s equipment budget to purchase all of the equipment needed this year. We will be able to purchase seven or eight pieces of equipment with this year’s funds and two or three will be purchased out of next year’s budget, which began on Oct. 1
All of that equipment will be on our snowmobile trails for this season. However, if we don’t get this legislation approved, we will be forced to cut down on equipment purchases next year.
Equipment is also aging. Our equipment ranges from 20 years old to new this year. All of that equipment has to be maintained, repaired, and replaced. Cutting the equipment budget will hurt smooth trails in Michigan.
We also have to include expansion and improvements to our trails. Both cost money, money that is not in our snowmobile program budget.
I know that everyone is thinking — if you don’t have it in the budget, you need to cut back a little here and there. We have spent countless hours looking at where cuts can be made. We are at the point where drastic changes are going to have to be made. It is only a matter of time before the amount of miles groomed in Michigan is cut back as well as equipment purchases. Either way, our trails, your trails will suffer.
What You Need to Do
We need all of our members to call, write, and e-mail THEIR Michigan House Representative and Senator. Tell them to support legislation to increase our trail permit fees. Included in this article you will find the name, district, and phone number of every Michigan House and Senate member. Look to the web site information included if you are not sure who your representative or senator is.
Just something to think about………………….
Most know there is no free ride in our society, but do you know where you would be riding without MSA? In 30 years so many things have changed, we went from snowmobile loops where you drove to an area unloaded and rode a loop and loaded back up and went home or on to the next destination, now we have 6500 miles of marked groomed trails most taking you from town to town hundreds of miles without a break in the system….we have emergency response in most areas, we have a historic trail permit, we have a constitutionally protected snowmobile fund, we have a permanent trail fund to insure our trails do not go away, we have good relations with our Michigan Legislators, we have 65 volunteer clubs maintaining your trails and consistently trying to add more. These are just a few of the things we have done to enhance the snowmobile community, and yet our membership is below 10,000. Michigan boasts over 200,000 registered sleds. I wonder how many members there are in the anti snowmobile groups? My guess is lots more than we have, so when we approach our legislators and request help, how big is our voice against their voice? These legislators are the same people elected by Michigan residents to work for Michigan residents….they have to respond to the loudest voice to keep their public happy. I know everyone does not agree with every move MSA makes, I don’t agree with every move my representative makes either but I still voted for him and would again. I have to trust that he sees the bigger picture clearer than I do, many times his hands are tied…..It is the same with MSA, you do not have to agree with every move but I hope you can trust and see that we are doing the best to keep the sport going, moving forward, for the betterment of the sport. Do your part and join today!
Ed Klim talks about FOSPAC! (Friends of Snowmobiling Political Action Committee)