The Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws
The Official Off-roading Handbook of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Web Version
Table of Contents
Prohibited ORV Operation on Other Lands
Roads, streets, and highways maintained for year-round automobile travel are closed to ORV operation, including the shoulder and the right-of-way. (That is, the entire width between boundary lines of public ways maintained for vehicular travel is closed to ORVs.) However, ORVs registered as motor vehicles by the Secretary of State may be operated on the roadway.
ORVs may be operated on a roadway in accordance with a locally enacted ordinance. The ORV rider is responsible for contacting the local authorities to find out which roadways are open to ORV use.
Private land is closed to ORV operation, except for use by the landowner and the landowner's invited guests. The failure of a landowner to post or fence private property against ORV use does not imply consent to ORV operation.
ORVs that display a valid ORV license may be operated on the frozen surfaces of public waters; however, unless an ORV is being operated at the minimum speed necessary for controlled forward movement, the ORV may not be operated within 100 feet of:
- Another person
- An ice fishing shanty
- An area cleared for ice skating
An ORV may not be operated in a manner that creates an erosive condition. Michigan’s soils and shorelines are fragile, and ORV operation in these areas and along stream banks and other waterways is restricted.
It is unlawful to operate any ORV in or on the waters of any stream, river, marsh, bog, wetland, swamp, or quagmire, unless you are driving on a bridge, culvert, or similar structure.
|ORV Operation on Various Land Types|
|Land Type||ORVs 50 Inches or Less in Overall Width (most ATVs and trail bikes)||ORVs More Than 50 Inches in Overall Width (trucks, dune buggies, and tracked vehicles)|
|State forest lands||On forest roads and designated trails and routes. Black Mountain Designated ORV Scramble Area (Cheboygan County).||On forest routes and roads unless posted as closed.|
|St. Helen Motorsport Area (Roscommon County).|
|State game areas||No motorized vehicle operation except on established roads open to the public. ORVs are prohibited.|
|State parks & recreation areas||Silver Lake State Park, Oceana County, is only state park where cross-country (scramble) operation is permitted. The park rules here are more restrictive than state law. Please contact SLSP directly at 231-873-3083 for more information.|
|National forest lands||Check with the Forest Supervisor’s Office or appropriate District Office.|
|Local government lands (county, etc.)||Subject to ordinances and signing or posting. ORV access routes may be established by local ordinance.|
|Commercial forest lands, public utility right-of-way, and other private lands||Only with permission of the landowner.|
|Streams, rivers, bogs, wetlands, marshes, etc.||ORV operation of all kinds prohibited. You may only cross any of these on bridges, culverts, or other structures.|
|State and U.S. highways||ORV operation is prohibited on any part of an Interstate Highway but may be operated on a State Trunk Line Highway if it is part of an approved and signed MDOT ORV connector route.|
|County roads, other roads open to cars||ORV operation prohibited on roadway and shoulder unless opened by local ordinance as an approved and signed MDOT ORV connector route.|