Michigan Mountain Bikers Call for Improvements to Trails Bill
On March 20, the Michigan House Natural Resources Committee voted in favor of House Bill 4684. As originally introduced, this bill would have removed the Department of Natural Resources capacity to properly manage trail systems on state lands and jeopardized millions of dollars in federal funds.
Fortunately, the bill has been significantly amended since then, and a potential loss of federal funds is much less likely. However, there are still significant problems with the bill, and therefore the IMBA and the Michigan Mountain Bike Alliance oppose it until important revisions are made.
Take Action! Contact your elected officials and let them know that House Bill 4684 isn't ready to be passed.
Two major issues surrounding House Bill 4684 need to be resolved:
1) It contains a definition that elevates equestrians above all other user groups. This definition reads: "Pack and saddle trailways" means TRAILS and equine access locations that CURRENTLY ARE OR AT ANY TIME PREVIOUSLY WERE used by pack and saddle animals. (Caps and underline our emphasis.)
2) The bill would prevent the DNR Director from being the final decision-maker on trail usage. Instead, it shifts this responsibility to the Michigan Snowmobile and Trails Advisory Council – a body that is not designed for such a task.
We are working on an amendment that would clarify that the DNR Director would continue to have the authority to restrict and segregate trail access by user group, provided that it was done in a manner which was fair and equitable for all user groups. Should this amendment be adopted, IMBA and the MMBA would drop opposition to the legislation.
Please call your State Representative and let them know that you are opposed to HB 4684 because it will make it more difficult for the DNR to resolve local disputes between various types of trail user groups. The bill as written has the potential to create chaos by giving all trail users equal access to nearly all trails. While this may sound fair in principle, the fact is that without the DNR’s ability to be a “traffic cop” on state lands, the result will be greater problems on Michigan’s trailways.
Thank you for your support!