Michigan Snowmobiler & ORV - May 2022

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MAY 2022

What’s Inside Get your copy delivered to your house Call today 231-536-2371

Visit us at www.michsnowmag.com


Melissa and Chris Sullivan share their passion for horsepower and community outreach

Come and Play

Silver Lake - Michigan’s most spectacular sandbox and ORV trails

Holly Oaks ORV Park

This joint venture between Oakland County Parks & Recreation and the Michigan DNR gets better every year

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What’s Inside

Visit Our Town Ads for your next outdoor adventure






















ON THE COVER: Jeff, Nick and Matt enjoying the Mounds and their first ride of the year.

Gaylord...................... 4 Twin City.................... 4 Mass City/Rousseau. 4 Cadillac...................... 5 Houghton Lake.......... 7 Newberry................... 8 Grand Marais............. 8 Iron River................... 8 Epoufette................... 8 East Jordan............... 9 Lake Gogebic............ 9 Deer Park................. 14 Naubinway............... 14 Drummond Island.... 15 White Lake............... 19 Dollar City................ 19 Fenton..................... 20 New Lothrop............ 20 Midland.................... 20 Copper Harbor........ 21 Manistique............... 23 Calumet................... 25 Emira....................... 25 Curtis....................... 28 Greenland................ 29 White Pine............... 29 Irons......................... 29 Silver City................ 29 Christmas................ 30

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Michigan Snowmobiler + ORV Magazine. MICHIGAN SNOWMOBILER + ORV • MAY • 2022

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s2019 ,2019 urs EEK EEK 8-29, 2017


d.info ed.info et net

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30600 Northwestern Hwy. Suite 105 Farmington Hills, Michigan 48434 231.536.2371 publisher@michsnowmag.com www.michsnowmag.com

THE MICHIGAN SNOWMOBILER+ORV is an independent publication endorsing the goals of MISORVA, and other associations. Opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the editor or contributing writers, and do not necessarily reflect the official opinions of the MSA, or their board of directors. Reproduction of material in whole or part is prohibited, unless authorized in writing by the publisher - all rights reserved.

MICHIGAN SNOWMOBILER and ORV INC., The Michigan Snowmobiler is published 10 times per year, September through February and May through August.

Call for your subscription today 231.536.2371

from the editor


t Michigan Snowmobile and ORV we are jumping out of our boots and celebrating the fact that this is our FIRST ORV issue. This dream come true has been 2 years in the making. We are sharing this accomplishment with all of you our fellow Michigan enthusiasts. As you enjoy our issue, take a second and notice the wide variety of ORV’s displayed in this issue. HERE’S A FEW HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Our cover shot was taken at “The Mounds ORV Park” in Genesee County. Be watching for future articles describing this lower Michigan treasure.

2. On page 8, we introduce the East Jordon Trailblazers. East Jordan is the original home to Michigan Snowmobiler Magazine. We definitely wanted to highlight membership with this group of folks and wish them great luck in this new joint venture. Just a reminder, we encourage our readers to support their local trail club and to become involved in our sport. 3. On page 10, check out the story of I’d Brap That! Missy and Chris have organized a race series, fun runs, fundraisers, blogposts and all things related to throttle therapy.

They put on a great show no matter if it’s dirt, sand or ice so make sure to see one of their events listed on page 15. 4. Check out our new contributing writer Dom Santina as he describes Holly Oaks ORV Park. We are looking forward to many more. 5. As always, look for any article written by Jim Duke. For our regular readers, Jim does not need any introduction. For our new friends, seek out Jim’s articles for well researched, informed and indepth knowledge. He’s featured at least twice per issue and is your editor’s favorite…

but try to keep that quiet so the other writers don’t find out… As always at Michigan Snowmobiler and ORV, we hope this issue has our readers dreaming of fun and the smell of engine oil while reading our pages! We look forward to seeing everyone at local events, chapter meetings and volunteering in support of Michigan Snowmobiling and ORVs. Please remember to keep our veterans and first responders in your thoughts and prayers.

Please feel free to reach out to us at Michigan Snowmobiler at publisher@michsnowmag.com. We love to hear from our readers. Be safe and enjoy the trails until our next issue!


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Many recreational enthusiasts are opting for 8 months of this….

uring the past thirty-five plus years I’ve been involved with organized snowmobiling, I have met, and in many cases, retained friendships with fellow snowmobilers from all around the globe… hundreds, maybe thousands in number. The majority, of course, is located in the lower forty-eight United States, but there are also several friends across our northern border in just about every province of Canada as well as across the big pond in the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and although I haven’t been in contact with them for quite some time now, I did meet and remem-

After Snowmobiling… Then What? BY JIM DUKE CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Versus only 3 to 4 month of this…

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ber a group of enthusiasts from Russia a few years ago at the International Snowmobile Congress. The question is, where have many of these acquaintances gone and why did they, if they in fact did, quit snowmobiling? The follow up question then would be, what are they doing now to fill the void, or time, once taken up by snowmobiling activities? Curiosity getting the best of me, I began researching this dilemma and most of the answers I received from inquiries were as expected, while some of the others were somewhat surprising. Let me begin by saying that in every case, those I contacted with my unofficial survey said they totally enjoyed the years they spent snowmobiling, and cher-

ished the many friendships fostered through their mutual interest in that choice of winter recreation. While a few of them said it was advancing age and diminishing physical abilities that prevented them from continuing, there were about as many that said the rising cost to remain engaged in snowmobiling was just no longer in their budget. The largest response, however, said other outside activities with new interests was the primary cause. What I found most surprising and quite honestly the most disturbing, were the few who said they had given up snowmobiling not because they no longer enjoyed it, but that they were driven out due to the conduct, attitudes, and discrimination of (false) friends. While I can readily identify with that first category, not so much due to the advancing age because I have several snowmobiling compatriots that are well beyond the legitimate age of retirement, and I myself became an octogenarian almost a half-decade ago, but as for the diminished physical abilities, I find it increasingly difficult to get myself unstuck from a snowbank, or to pick up the backend of a sled and move it around as I once could. Because of this I no longer venture off-trail and adhere more frequently to the requirement to “never ride alone”, but as yet I have not even once considered giving up this favorite wintertime activity. I can even see where the rising cost to remain active in snowmobiling might be a deciding factor for some, especially those with a family to support and a demanding job to contend with. When I first became

involved the average cost of a new, entry level, snowmobile was between two and three thousand dollars, and a top-of the-line sled less than seven thousand. Today’s prices, in most cases, are three or more times that amount thanks, in part at least, to the demands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Also, trails, what little there were, used to be best smoothed out by dragging an old bed spring behind a snow machine. The cost of developing trails and maintaining them in a safe and smooth condition today has become a major expense with the price of a tractor and grooming implement exceeding a quarter-million dollars. But when we consider everything equally, the cost of doing business, the rising cost of commodities, and the overall cost of living have all increased dramatically. Lodging back in the 70’s could be found for between $35 and $50 per room and fuel was, in many cases, less than a dollar a gallon. In order to stay abreast of the new technology and find adequate funding to provide quality trails, enter the era of the Trail Pass, which by the way has increased periodically to keep pace with the rising cost of everything else. In discussion with those who claimed to give up snowmobiling to pursue other outside activities or with new interests as the primary cause, I found most were discouraged by the shortness of the winter season and the fact they could basically have the same experiences year-round with a side-by-side off-road vehicle or an all- terrain vehicle for less than, or

about, the same expense. I did find that several folks in this category had not given up their snowmobiles, they just weren’t using them very much if at all anymore and didn’t purchase a trail permit until they were sure they would be riding the snowmobiles. Of those who said they were giving up the sport all together, sold their winter recreation equipment and apparel, and in some cases, relocated to a warmer climate during the winter months, in almost every case it was not the lost love of snowmobiling but instead was due to inconsiderate, disrespectful, and in many cases unwarranted rude behavior but other snowmobilers on the trails or personnel in a snowmobile-related business or organization. In very few cases, mostly where multiple sleds were the issue, did the increase in cost of trail permits have a bearing on the decision to no longer be an active snowmobiler. In summary, with an increasing number of snowmobile clubs reporting a decrease in their active membership rosters, the question to be asked is “after snowmobiling, what?” Statistics show recreational pursuits overall are on the rise, so why is snowmobiling activities not seeing that much of it? There are plenty of answers to that question, some valid and some just speculation, but the fact remains that there are still plenty of avid snowmobile enthusiasts anxiously awaiting that first snowfall and praying for a record winter season. Will the 2021 – 2022 season be the one? If not, after snowmobiling… then what? •

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East Jordan Trailblazers


fter fifty plus years known as the East Jordan Sno-Mobilers and after less than five years known as the South Arm ORV Club, the two groups have merged. Members voted on four possible names and overwhelmingly selected “East Jordan Trailblazers”. The name identifies the new non-profit organization, but also defines the group on many levels. Newly elected officers include – President: Don Massey, Vice President: Mark Nachtman, Secretary: Ron Schroeder, Treasurer: Connie Massey, Trustees: Rob Laisure, Benson Massey and Nick Miller. The clubhouse and grounds located on Mt. Bliss Road in East Jordan serves as the meeting and event site for the organization. The East Jordan Trailblazers did not waste any time selecting a new logo that clearly represents the activities and mission of the organization. A merchandise committee has been organized to select apparel and decals that will be offered for sale. A newsletter titled “Tales from the Trail” has already sent its first newsletter to current members. The mission and focus of the East Jordan Trailblazers is a private non-profit social and fraternal organization dedicated to the advancement of the sport of motorized recreation. The events and activities described in this group were arranged for the benefit of our members. In addition to social and recreational activities, the club supports charitable causes in the interest of public service and local citizenship. The East Jordan Trailblazers safety classes through their DNR certified instructor and makes continuing safety and technical education available to our members and the public through classes and seminars. Motorized recreational users who subscribe to the aims, goals and ethics of the

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East Jordan Trailblazers, and who agree to abide by the by-laws and rules of the club are eligible to apply for membership. If you are interested in becoming an East Jordan Trailblazers member contact the club secretary Ron Schroeder for a free membership information kit and application by mail. The East Jordan Trailblazers an affiliated commercial member club of the Michigan Snowmobile and ORV Association. Contact them at ejtrailblazers727@gmail.com Congratulations to this new organization. The East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to promoting your upcoming events, classes and programs for many years to come!

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June 23-26 • South Arm Classic Car/Boat Show - July 9th Brew Fest


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SAVE THE DATE FEBRUARY 19-21, 2021. 40th ANNUAL SNO-BLAST WINTER FESTIVAL Discover our area for the finest Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, Winter Rafting Trips, Star Gazing, Ice Fishing and more!!

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Ground of I’d Brap That BY MELISSA SULLIVAN


e get asked all the time, “What does BRAAAAP mean?”. The short answer is, “it’s an engine sound”, but to be honest it is so much more than a sound. It’s a hobby, a lifestyle, a form of therapy, and I can’t stress this enough, a family, and a whole lot of fun. My husband Chris and I both grew up in northern Michigan and enjoyed spending time on the trails. I traveled them by horseback while he traveled them with horsepower. From the time we met in 2008 till now we’ve traveled thousands of miles together on those same trails riding: Snowmobile, truck, ATV, Jeep or SXS. Turns out that I am just as into the horsepower as he is!

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The name “I’d Brap That” came when I was with a girlfriend in a store and saw a shirt that said, “I’d Tap That”. I looked at her and laughed and then said “I’d Brap That”. I knew right at that moment I had to do something with it, and I created the Facebook Page in the parking lot that day. So, I really do look at places and think, “I’d Brap That” meaning I would ride there or that ORV. Now my husband and I enjoy riding and racing our SXS all over Michigan fully emerged in the BRAAAAP lifestyle. Once we had the name it all took off. You may be familiar with the Michigan SXS YouTube Channel I’d Brap

that, where we invite you to follow us around the tracks and through the trails of Michigan. We also post videos of ORV fundraiser and racing events that we host and attend. In addition to our website, early on in our riding adventures, I created a meme with the hand signals you should use, letting people know how many are behind you in the trails. I felt this was important because all the trails here are two-way traffic and I knew it was from past experiences that accidents are very possible. We were very happy to see that “Use your head, use your hands!” went viral. In fact, it is still shared on riding pages across the country today. In 2016 Chris and I helped keep a beloved St. Helen event Called the St Helen ORV Jam going with the help of a wonderful group of volunteers, we started to fall in love with planning and organizing off road racing events. I am proud to call The St. Helen ORV Jam our flagship event; how it all got started for us. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing but it all worked. Each year we looked back and figured out how we could keep improving it. We noticed that even before the spectators had cleared out, we were already discussing plans to make it bigger and better. It has been quite an adventure and we’ve loved every minute of it. Let’s face it we were hooked. Chasing this dream together didn’t just challenge us physically, BRAAAAP has changed us for the better. For example, we quit smoking cold turkey together, to make room in our budget for a new SXS. In 2018, we finally bought our dream SXS a brand new 2018 Arctic Cat Wildcat XX. Pretty much if we were not sleeping or working, we were riding the trails near our home in Roscommon County. In St Helen, as with most places, there was a lot of trail traffic, especially on holiday weekends. Unfortunately, because of the traffic we experienced our first trail accident on Memorial Day weekend. We were heading to Houghton Lake on Trail 6, just a few miles into our ride coming around a tight corner, another SXS was coming the opposite way. We saw them in plenty of time, but sadly they panicked, braked, and just slid in the deep sand. We collided with them at about 25mph. Our brand-new machine was only about a week old, and we had a wreck. We were devastated but fortunately no one was hurt, and it was only parts that needed replacing. In the long run it gave us a chance to make it better. Chris made it the most unique Wildcat XX, with a custom-built cage and a custom set of decals. Chris Definitely had the need for speed and loved driving aggressively through the trails. I was not used to being the passenger and I will admit not having control was not my favorite part. I am sure Chris would agree with that one. After our continued on page 12 MICHIGAN SNOWMOBILER + ORV • MAY • 2022

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accident I was a bit nervous and in the heat of one ride I shouted, “If you’re going to drive this thing like a race car why don’t you just race it?!”. Chris took me up on the idea and we found a SXS short course race series in Alma, Michigan. By this time, I learned to love driving just as much as being a passenger, so we shared the SXS and both raced, Chris, was much more excited and qualified for the racing; but I was just as excited for the experience. I remember sitting there at the starting line for the very first time scared, doubting myself. Then suddenly, the flag dropped, I stomped on the gas pedal and all of that doubt and fear went away. All I could think about was the rush of ripping around the tight turns and hitting the jumps. All I could focus on was what was right in front of me. My mind was quiet, I was only in that moment, which made it even more exciting. When I finished the race I remember being so proud of myself, that along with the adrenaline rush I finally understood why Chris called it Throttle Therapy. Boy was it. Although I was used to competing all my past was with horse shows, so this was a different experience for me. At that first race I was the only woman competing, but I was hoping to get more women interested and involved in the sport of SXS racing; so we could have a women’s class. I didn’t mind racing the guys, but I really wasn’t up to their level quite yet. I didn’t have much luck and I finished out the season as the first and only woman in the Kress Training Complex SXS Series. I loved that race so much I convinced my Make a Wish Foundation fundraising team to host a ORV trail ride. Little did I know what that first fundraiser ride would turn into. My team and I worked with a Powersports dealership in Harrison, Michigan and had a fantastic turnout for the ride. We raised $1400 for our cause! I realized right there that I could do what I loved and help other great organizations at the same time. We had experience in fundraising and often 1 ORV event would raise more money than 3 or 4 other events combined. We had a blast while we were doing it! The next annual fundraiser started in 2017 when we added our annual fall ORV fun run to raise money for Claws and Paws Rescue, a local foster-based rescue organization out of West Branch MI. We have raised over $7000, along with truckloads of food and supplies, for the rescue with our friends from the ORV community. I loved being able to bring people together for a cause that I love and help organizations raise much needed funds. People can do what they love and raise money for a great cause at the

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groceries • gifts snowmobile supplies & gear LP gas • BEER WINE LIQUOR Snowmobile & Trail permits available

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same time. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. That first season of SXS racing in Alma also ended up being the last. So Chris and I, along with many of our friends we made there were stuck wanting more. I felt like racing was safer than trail riding especially when you consider: one way traffic, the required safety equipment, and the lack of alcohol so we started hosting racing events of our own. Our first an so far most popular event were the Tip Up Town USA SXS Ice Races. We knew in our hearts that this was the next step for I’d Brap That. We had proven to ourselves and our fans, that we had what it took to plan and host our own SXS racing series. It took a little while but even with a few tail kicks and nose dives along the way, we have finally hit our goal. We are proud to announce that in 2022 we will be hosting the I’d Brap That Racing Drivers Points Series. We have partnered up with Maximum Michigan Madness, Michigan Mud Jam, MPA Motorsports & Offroad, Throttle Out Motorsports and others to bring you a series with a full range of SXS racing so you can test your driving skills & try a variety of different racing styles. For more information https://idbrapthat.com/ points-series. We are super pumped to see what this year has to offer and cannot wait to see our friends and fans at and look forward to meeting new people. For a stranger is nothing more than a friend we have not met yet. See you at the track or in the trails!!!!! •

I’D BRAP THAT Drivers Racer Series 2022 JUNE Friday, 10th Friday, 24th Saturday, 25th Sunday, 26th

CountryBoyz SXS Race Maximum Michigan Madness Maximum Michigan Madness Maximum Michigan Madness

Marion Iosco County Fairgrounds, Hale Iosco County Fairgrounds, Hale Iosco County Fairgrounds, Hale

JULY Saturday, 9th Friday, 15th Saturday, 16th Sunday, 17th Tuesday, 26th

Throttle Out Motosports Race #1 MPA Motosports BRAAAAP Weekend MPA Motosports BRAAAAP Weekend MPA Motosports BRAAAAP Weekend Iosco County Fair SXS Race

Bay County Fairgrounds, Bay City Mt. Pleasant Fairgrounds, Mt. Pleasant Mt. Pleasant Fairgrounds, Mt. Pleasant Mt. Pleasant Fairgrounds, Mt. Pleasant Hale, MI

AUGUST Tuesday, 9th Wednesday, 17th

Bay County Fair SXS Race Night Michigan Mud Jam

Bay County Fairgrounds, Bay City Iosco County Fairgrounds, Hale

SEPTEMBER Saturday, 3rd Saturday, 10th

St. Helen ORV Jam Throttle Out Race #2

Richfield Township Park Bay County Fairgrounds, Bay City

OCTOBER Saturday, 8th

Outlar Halloween Bog

Iosco County Fairgrounds, Hale MI

DRUMMOND ISLAND Stay and play this summer at

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Put your gear to the test on Drummond Island, home of Michigan’s largest closed loop off-road trail. Really challenge yourself by visiting Turtle Ridge Off Road park, for details on admission and lodging specials call (906) 493-1000 or visit www. drummondisland.com


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Come and Play

in Michigan’s Most Spectacular Sandbox and ORV Trails! BY KIM KISNER CONTRIBUTING WRITER


ormed some 1,800,000 years ago the Silver Lake Sand Dunes are one of the largest deposits of living dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan. Bordering both Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, the remarkable dunes consist of nearly 2,000 acres of rolling sand hills that are 1.5 miles wide and 3 miles long. This spectacular sandbox makes for an extraordinary destination for ORV enthusiasts and beyond. In fact is one of the few areas in the country that users can still enjoy riding freely on sand dunes. From the 450-acre scramble area, to guided dune rides and jeep tours to water sport rentals to golf to horseback riding to miniature golf to

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beaches and swimming to fine dining to … well you get the idea. There is no shortage of things to do in the Silver Lake area. Not by a long shot. Naturally, we’ll begin with ORV Opportunities Here… SILVER LAKE STATE PARK With constant winds creating ever-shifting sand patterns and terrain for a uniquely different experience 24/7, Silver lake State Park has provided people and families amazing experiences whether driving, riding, walking or simply exploring. The Dunes are divided into three main areas. #1 ORV Area: This 450-acre scramble area is an ORV lover’s dream come true. First timer’s will


feel like a kid at Christmas, checking out “Sunset Hill” with a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. The “South Flats” are a great way to get your bearings on the sand if this is your first time. “Test Hill” is a must – the largest of the dunes. As you make your way out from the access road, you can check out the drag racing- always fun and exciting to watch or even join. The ORV scramble area, is open to 4-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs and dirt bikes. If you have an ORV of your own, feel free to take it out for a drive at your leisure. Required documentation is needed for all motor vehicles entering the area. You can also rent ORVs in downtown Silver Lake.

Check out Wild Bill’s ATV Rentals or Sun Buggy Fun Rentals. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes open season normally runs from April 1st–October 31st. #2 Macwoods Dune Rides Maybe you’re traveling with the family and looking for something a little more leisurely? Try a 40-minute guided ride at Mac Wood’s. Offering breathtaking panoramic views from the summit of the dune area, you’ll also gain lots of information about the environment and history of the ever-changing dunes from the knowledgeable guides. This ride is also accessible to the mobility impaired to it can truly be enjoyed by all! #3 Pedestrian Area For those who are seeking to play in the sandbox on foot or toboggan (!) the central section of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes area is designated for hiking/pedestrian foot traffic only. Scale the sand mountains or slide down them like a snow hill - on sand boards and continued on page 18



continued from page 17

toboggans. This section of the area offers a one-two punch of Silver Lake and Lake Michigan, with nearly one mile of rolling dunes between the two. It’s easy to spend an entire day exploring, playing, picnicking and taking in the views here. Adrenaline-inducing adventures in Silver Lake aren’t limited to ORV. Head to Craig’s Cruisers – Silver Lake for bumper boats and go-karts, a zip line, miniature golf and arcade games. Also check out West Michigan Motorsports Park offering off road racing, drag racing and monster trucks” BEYOND THE ADRENALINE Beaches and Shoreline The Silver Lake area is home to several miles of pristine Lake Michigan shoreline in addition to numerous inland lakes. Spend a day – or more - sunning and swimming. Check out Dune Beach, Claybanks Township Park, Golden Township Park, or the beach at Sliver Lake State Park and Campgrounds. If you are more of the adventurous type, take a refreshing dip or try your hand at standup paddle boarding (SUP), rent a kayak or personal watercraft from Wave Club Watersports.

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Little Sable Point Lighthouse also boasts an expansive sandy beach and the Lighthouse is a must see attraction. Built in the late 1870s, climb to the top and enjoy a 360 degree view of the dunes and Lake Michigan shoreline. WHERE TO EAT… In the mood for spicy? Saucy? Sophisticated? Smokey? You’ll find it in or around Silver Lake. Here are just a few of the many options: Golden Sands Bucket Bar Restaurant The main attraction is their pizza, made with an upgraded four cheese blend, and buckets which can be filled with bread, hot dogs, bratwurst, chicken wings and chicken strips. Sand Castle Restaurant This mom and pop diner is of the few restaurants located on Silver Lake, with excellent views of the lake, sand dunes and lighthouse nearby. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the tourist season, it has one of the larger menus of the area, with Mexican fare seafood, traditional American offerings and more. continued on page 20






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Tasty Creationz Barbecue, wraps, hot dogs, tacos nachos, burgers and ice cream, what more could anyone want from a vacation restaurant? The ice cream is the main draw with 16 different flavors of locally produced, hand dipped and soft serve ice cream. There is indoor and outdoor seating available, with most opting for outside as there are good views of Silver Lake from the patio area. Hart Pizza A staple of the Sand Dunes culinary scene since 1980. Dough is made fresh on the premises daily and all pizzas are made to order. Pizzas are cooked traditionally in a stone-oven baked. If you aren’t in the mood for pizza, there are also subs and salads on offer. Val-Du Lakes Situated above the dunes and the lake, Val-Du Lakes offers breathtaking views in one of the area’s more unusual environments. The restaurant, set within the Val-Du Lakes resort, is in a converted barn, with the resort itself having previously been a 100-acre farm in the 1920s. Enjoy tacos, fish, burgers, steaks and more. An entertainment hotspot, the restaurant regularly hosts karaoke nights, barn dances and live music.

COPPER HARBOR WHERE TO STAY… If you are looking to camp, Silver Lake State Park Campground is ideal, or Dunes Harbor Family Camp, or Silver Hills Campground. Cottage dwelling more your style. Try Silver Sands Resort. There is also a plethora of hotels and motels to choose from. For an “up north” rustic feel with cozy vibes and lots of amenities, try Hart Motel. Or, if you’re looking to be close to the water yet with more of a downtown feel, stay in nearby Ludington at the Best Western Lakewinds or the Comfort Inn. OTHER THINGS TO DO The Silver Lake area is home to several great golf courses if you feel like playing a round or two. Golden Sands Golf Course, with a par 3 course and Junior Dunes programs is terrific for the whole family. The Colonial Golf Course is a beautiful 27 hole 6900 yard course with a huge driving range, food and refreshments. Looking for more adventure? The Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery rents tubes, rafts and kayaks! If you find yourself with a rainy day, a fun way to pass some time is to wander through the Claybanks Pottery Studio and watch the artists at work. And for a truly unique opportunity, see FF Forge for blacksmithing and blade smithing, offering a “hands on” fun learning experience for ages 12 and up. Once you visit Silver Lake, Michigan, you’ll want to return again and again. It truly offers something for everyone and every age. Start your new tradition this year! •

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n September 17, 2020, Oakland County gained a space that would thrill off-road enthusiasts. As the Holly Oaks ORV park opened for the first time. The park is operated by Oakland County Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The park is consisting of former and active sand and gravel minds. It is located off I-75 at Grange Hall and Dixie Highway. The county and DNR approved a 20-year agreement to use the area for the park with an option of a 10-year extension. The park was an original 106 acres but will be opening up 60 more acres this July. Which will be operated as a scramble area, allowing enthusiasts to “pick your own adventure” by blazing through trails in the dramatic mine landscape. The park is expected to reach a total of 235 acres by 2023. The park is open to all types of

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ORV including full-size vehicles, side-by-sides, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles. The park features many different obstacles for ORV enthusiasts including approximately 9.5 miles of trails with 3 looped trails and a 2.3-mile “ endurance trail that navigates around the park. Also in the park, is rock crawls/climbs, including Mt. Magna, a 9,000 square foot peak, that is designed to replicate the experience of popular rock formations out in Moab, Utah. The formation was donated by Magna Powertrain of Troy. Which is a part of 36,000 square feet of total simu-


lated rock features. The park also includes water crossings, log craws, sand/gravel and dirt hill climbs. While also having acres of land for riders to create their own paths. The park also has amenities that include portable toilets and picnic tables on several park overlooks. New to the park this year will be a retro-styled Bestop Air Station, which will allow enthusiasts to air down or refill tires as they enter or leave the park. Also new in 2022, will be a 1.5-acre remote control car or truck track and crawling course. There will be no additional cost to use your RC vehicle, but you must have your ORV pass to enter the park. The RC course has been an addition after park staff realized that many enthusiasts enjoy running RC cars or trucks while they take a break from using their ORV. The park has had some growing pains in the two-year process since opening. The park has made some

CALUMET significant adjustments to help improve overall operations. After noticing noise and dust issues in late 2020 and early 2021. The park has now implemented sound testing and vehicle flag requirements. They have also started their own dust control measures in a variety of ways. The increase in sound and aftermarket mufflers prompted staff to invest in a track located further into the park, while adding sound control berms along Dixie Highway. The park was hit by 8 significant rain events during the 2021 fiscal year, which flooded out large portions of the park, eroded hillsides, destroyed trails, buried irrigation lines, flooded pumps and forced the use of heavy equipment to repeatedly rebuild ORV attractions. As part of those issues, the park continues to be a work in progress, reshaping some features to make them more resilient to storms and to prevent future flooding. As the park continues to expand, build and adapt they continue to work with local companies, agencies and fundraise to help improve the overall experience. The continuous improvements include adding more materials to the park, improving soundproofing and overall appearance and adding new features like the idea of a youth or beginner riding area. All of this is helped out by many volunteers. OAKLAND MINE RIDERS VOLUNTEERS One of the most important groups is called the Oakland Mine Riders. They help support the development, maintenance and operation of Holly Oaks ORV Park. They work on the park landscape and help raise money for the creation of new ORV features for the park. According to their website “The overall goal of the group is to make Holly Oaks ORV Park a success, through their hard work, ingenuity, thrift, and a healthy dose of pirate swagger.” Another goal for the group is to set an example of the good traits of the ORV community, which they also describe on their website as “ we work hard and play hard; we care about our machines, but we care more about each other; and we want to have fun, but our fun should never come at the expense of someone else’s safety or quality of life. Most importantly, we want to demonstrate that ORVs have a place on our public lands.” The Oakland Mine Riders are a not-for-profit group that chose to support Holly Oaks because they knew there were all types of riders that want to do their part to help promote public ORV riding opportunities in Michigan. The group offers four different types of membership options. The basic membership package is a 1-year membership that includes a Rider Brand decal, email updates and invitation to members-only events (additional entry fees may apply). The advanced membership package includes everything in the basic package but with the addition of a continued on page 26

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Piston Head decal and an invitation to Piston Head-only events ( additional entry fees may apply). With the piston head membership, the group will challenge Piston Head members for an additional donation of $100 to the featured project for that year. Only Piston Head members are allowed to make donations. If you make a donation, you are given a custom limited edition Piston Head decal that has been customized to match the Featured Project for the year, along with one vehicle pass and two wristbands for the “first tire” event on the featured project. The final membership group is the Guild membership, which focuses on business memberships. This is an annual membership to the Oakland Mine Riders Guild. This membership includes a guild brand window decal, guild member year window tracker, your logo added to the mine riders website, email updates and invitations to members only and guild only events. Where once again additional fees may apply. The group also welcomes any type of donations that anyone would like to give. This can be a monetary donation that helps with several signature projects. There is a donation link on their website, where you can choose the amount and what you would like the money to go towards. The other type of donation is those that would be willing to donate any reclaimed or recycled

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material that you think would be useful. Any business that would like to donate more or materials would also be recognized on the webpage. The group has been instrumental in the creation and continued development of the park. Jon Noyes the Principal Planner for Oakland County Parks has worked on the project for quite a few years and had this to say about the Oakland Mine Riders. “This is why it has been so critical for us to work closely with our volunteers. We invite them to help us build, maintain, and regularly test all of the features in the park. They help us to make the most out of a relatively small footprint…and they are the best at demonstrating to other ORV users how to get the most out of the features we provide. They can also speak directly to other ORV users that we are working really hard to make the best experience possible, we are trying to be good stewards of public resources (including tax dollars), and we know we don’t have all the answers… which is why we need to continue to work closely with our partners (which includes government agencies, user groups, local businesses, ORV industry members, and local residents),” said Noyes. THINGS TO KNOW The park will also be hosting one of their biggest events so far Disability Dirt Days once again this year. The event will be sponsored by LaFontaine Automotive for ORV


enthusiasts with disabilities. They will be paired with a volunteer driver and will get to experience what it is like to zip through dirt, bounce over rocks and splash through the water. The park is also across the street from Groveland Oaks County Park and Campground. Which features 50’ x 50’ full hookup and modern campsites, group camping areas, eight cabins, four yurts and two island pavilions. The park also has a variety of dining options in the nearby area. While also being very close to the site of the Michigan Renaissance Festival, which takes place around the end of August till the beginning of October. Holly Oaks ORV Park has varying hours and days throughout the year, but from May through September they are open Friday through Sunday. On Friday, the park is open from 2 - 8 pm and on Saturday and Sunday, it is open from 10 am to 8 pm. The cost of the park will be raised this year to offset operational losses from the pandemic and storms over the last two years. In order to access the park, along with your vehicle registration and trail permit, you will need to purchase a day pass that is $30. This year there will be a youth rate which is $15, along with an annual pass of $250. If you have any questions or want more information, you can check them out on all social media sites or at oakgov.com and searching Holly Oaks ORV Park. •

TRANSITION… Easy or No? BY JIM DUKE CONTRIBUTING WRITER For many winter enthusiasts, the exchange of toys, snowmobiles to off-road vehicles can’t be too soon.


ith the snowbanks still as high as a two-story building in some locations as we close in on the final days of the snowmobile season, it’s hard to believe that some folks are already putting away their winter toys and prepping their summer ones. This is especially true for those who make their home in one of the many communities across the wide expanse of the Upper Peninsula where the snow remains well into the Spring and the ice hasn’t completely disappeared from the waters of Lake Superior yet. In the many conversations I’ve had with friends and family members, I’ve found that the real diehards will continue to press on and push the season well beyond its legal limits as long as snow remains on the trails and in the woods. The big issue, of course, is when does it become legal to put our wheeled vehicles in operation and how much grief is caused to those still enjoying the thrills of winter? According to DNR guidelines, the official designated snowmobile season runs from December 1st of each year until March 31st of the

same. Whether that first day begins at one minute past midnight on the last night in November is questionable but can be answered yes, if anyone is that anxious to start their snowmobile activities at the earliest possible moment. Whether snowmobilers still have legal use of the trails beyond the stroke of midnight on the last night in March or not can also be answered yes, but with some stipulations. Primarily, they must understand that they no longer have priority usage of the trails system regardless of how much snow remains, and more importantly, that trail access no longer exists as it did prior to the deadline so far as private lands are concerned. Legal passage during the season would now be considered trespassing, regardless of whether the rider is on a snowmobile and a designated snowmobile trail or not. To add to the confusion, there are many misnomers within the DNR regulations that were intended as guidelines for the ATV/ORV community, and cause for concern to those who wish to venture out into the great outdoors and follow the trails or two-tracks through the forests.

For example, it is written that all state lands are open for recreational use. Most folks would interpret this to say you can go and play anywhere within the state forest boundaries, but this is not so! There are specifics, sometimes quite vague, that prohibit any activity within, such as any designated wetlands, or areas where there might be growth of fragile plant-life. Certainly, there are some state campgrounds that allow ORV use, but the majority do not. It’s always a good idea to check beforehand to eliminate any misunderstandings and possible heartburn later. As a relatively new advocate of the summertime recreation activities known as side-by-side touring in the ORV community, or as some of my close acquaintances like to call “the old-timers woodlands adventures”, I joined a group of like-minded individuals, drove over some of the same terrain with the ORV that I had just recently been over with my snow machine, and was actually amazed that the excitement was almost equal to the previous ride, and although the pace was much continued on page 28


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conveyance for playing a three-year period and in the great outdoors. issued by the Secretary While snowmobiles were of State while ORV’s must permitted to cross private be registered annually lands on specific trails with the decals issued and/or country roads, through the DNR. other motorized, and even Speaking with DNR most non-motorized, use personnel assigned to is prohibited and almost oversee recreational trail always results in a tresuse, it is apparent they passing complaint by the don’t have all the answers landowners. either, not that they aren’t This has become such trying. In many cases they an issue in recent years are being pressured to that many private properapply restrictions where ty owners have rescinded they have no authority permission even for snow to do so. For example, machines. It isn’t a single by mutual agreement state issue either, this with other agencies and problem is being experientities, the state may enced in the majority of control, and under some states where snowmoestablished guidelines, The Sault biling and ORV activitiesGroomer override local Barn, regulations where happens. Here is Dennis must co-exist. A Michigan concerning recreational Hank o Motors, Izzard. Conservation Officerand said LeeAnn use of certain trails and that just because the trail properties. This is usually 150 mem the fire for his grand permit is issued for an accomplished by a grantthey also daughter Alexa. She entire has no bearing on ed easement through, or Comm 30 really seemed to enjoy whether it’s legal to use across, an expanse of bers. Mart the traditional tasty outside the season, or for land much in the same me that treat of summer. Howhow long. Same manner as private properment, th ever, I goes didforsomewhat theof ORVapermit. Common ty owners allowing snowabout 102 faux paux. At first, issues both the ORVAlexa user mobile clubs a to develop a Trails. In mistook for andhim. the Snowmobile rider trail on their land. Limitamiles with OK, she is 13, must understand and is while had tions are set and must be Limits of skinny, short every machine must have adhered to by all involved, Which is p hair. But, not a him. A a Trail sticker to be legal or the agreement is itself. null A+ her. on the trails, they both and void. Anyway, back to the on bein must also be registered other situations,friendly. SSA. Martin In happily andtold have a valid decal however, local ordinancesThe SS me that the club permanently affixed to may prevail. For example, groomers, has about 60 Family thememberships, machine. Snowmowhilewhich the state says and offa P biletranslates registrations are for into about are continued on They page 30

M-28 - Munising, MI 49862

slower, in many situations run, but one can’t help circuits. Like but Vic Wertz, Markif it would be that can mobile also Racing be much wonder Plus, many many oth- was also hugely fahad safer! as exciting. ers. mous from his days asThe hardrobThen, was a Tiger. And, like Vic, What could be there a morncore quad-runners say they Mark “the Bird” Mark was totally dedihaving ride of 70 or 80 miles absolutely, then add that Fidrych, another fas to Continued on page 28 mous for Detroit Tiger. s. to a location lunch by any riding they do would hing snowmobile and then the probably be considered p inthat return ride to finish out “on the ragged edge” by September, 2019 ver I the move to a nice day trip, would, in most other trail riders. day move. hink theyanmade to most cases, become Thenthe there move are the w, it worked ople make the move. good. Marnow overnight event for those other obvious concerns e had a ref all Anyhow, it worked turn out. following a similar itineras snowmobiles are put have he movefun. to move to y good out pretty good. Marvery ove. ove. ary in an ORV. Granted, away and the various really good ,” it worked worked tin said, “We had a reood. MarMarood. there are the ATV riders categories of off-road for me, of emove had aatorerehad ally good turn de.turn to sample out. that would attempt duplivehicles become theout. turn out. the name ynworked good fun. good fun. Some really d. integrity, Martic cation of of the snowmobile preferred good recreationalfun. really good really good d the end had a re-


The athletics are the reason for the wonderful things the Wertz warriors do.


the Mat-

day. And, have overcome. And, are so very happy. All of a sudden, whatever it is that’s bothering me just does not seem that bad after all. Over the years, I became friends with many of the continued Warriors. Some, like Vic Batanni, a former President, and Ken Mattei, another President, who I got to know because of their ranking in the group. Then, others such as Dave White, a videographer, and Wayne Reams, who I knew from the Snow-

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road vehicles are not legal for operation except as specified, meaning for off-road use only, some communities have made provisions for them to use certain local roads for access to services in the same manner as snowmobiles. On the other hand, there is no curfew for trail riding according to state laws, but many towns & villages have enacted local, and in some cases countywide, ordinances restricting trail usage within their legal limits for specified hours. As complex as it may seem, it’s really quite simple. The outdoor enthusiasts will pursue their passions regardless of the season, and for the motorized recreational users, there will always be a few prerequisites to be adhered to. Transition from snow machine to a quad-runner can be as easy as stepping off of one and on to the other, that is if the seasonal restrictions have been lifted and the permits and registrations are

As complex as it may seem, it’s really quite simple. The outdoor enthusiasts will pursue their passions regardless of the season, and for the motorized recreational users, there will always be a few prerequisites to be adhered to. current. Once you have made sure both you and your machine are legal, you’re good to go. Just make sure you know where to ride and where not to, because the rules change with the seasons as well as with the type of vehicle. The name of the game is to get outdoors and enjoy whatever your recreational passion may be. For the motorized trail users, stay on the trails when crossing private property, and only play off-trail where it is permitted to do so, and remember the trails may be per-

mitted by season. To be on them at any other time is considered trespassing. For the non-motorized folks, most of these guidelines apply as well, so checking in advance should always be a priority to eliminate any issues later. Finally, long after the designated snowmobile season has ended, in some locations, primarily the Upper Peninsula, snow remains in adequate quantities to allow snowmobile activities to continue where permitted, sometimes well into April or beyond, but is no longer exclusive. Snowmobilers must be aware that it is also permissible for other user groups to be recreating on those same trails. Many motorized recreationists make the transition as soon as the season permits while others will not do so until the last usable patch of snow is gone. Is transition easy or is it not? The answer isn’t as easy as the question, for sure! •


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