Back in the day, if you could have looked in a cowboy’s saddlebags, you would have seen a few things that every one of them made sure they had whenever they jumped onto their trusty steed. A good rope, a coffee pot and a few tools were part of every cowboy’s gear.
Like the cowhand’s horse, today’s sportsmen are using ATVs and UTVs to reach those places off the beaten path for their hunting, fishing, and all recreational adventures.
I met up with Jim Maike, Jr and Robin Rodarmer, two active members from West Michigan Ridge Runners ORV Club based in Newaygo County.
Q. How many miles of ORV trails are there in the state of Michigan?
A. Michigan has more than 3,800 miles of ORV trails
Q. How long ago was the WMRR club formed?
A. The club was formed 8 years ago.
Q. How many active members do you have?
A. Today we have around 35 active members
Q. What is the biggest challenge you see with ATV/ORV riding in our county?
A. The challenge we have today is working with the Forest Service in opening forest roads to ORV’s, I got zoning passed in 2012 to open all Newaygo County roads.
Q. What are your goals for 2021?
A. To be able to ride the forest roads and to promote safe riding.
Q. What do you feel is the best advice for a new ATV/ORV rider?
A. The best advice I can give is to take a ORV safety course. Our club has them 2 times a year. We
have 3 instructors in our club that are trained by the MDNR, I am one of them. The training is 5 hours long, FREE to attend, and we feed you😊.
Q. Never leave home without WHAT when heading out on the trail?
A. Never leave home without telling someone where you are riding your ATV/ORV.
*All are welcome to join, West Michigan Ridge Runners is officially recognized by the state DNR and Federal
Forestry. The club will be receiving state grants for maintenance and opening of new trails for ATVs and UTVs. To find out more information about joining the trails with WMRR, follow them on their Facebook page at West
Michigan Ridge Runners ORV Club.
There are a few things that all riders should have with them when they head off down that dusty trail. ATVs and UTVs can be great tools and a lot of fun, but if you can’t make it back safe and sound, then what’s the point?
If you plan to ride or camp in remote locations, you need to be prepared for emergencies. But, even if you’re not planning on going deep into remote wilderness, a basic survival kit is still highly recommended. Always plan for the weather, the area your riding, have a map of the trails, extra food and water, and extra warm gear.
We recommend having these items on hand before you ride:
- Cell phone (+charger/battery)
- Maps of the area & trails
- First aid kit
- Duct Tape/Zip ties/Super glue/
- Small ax or portable saw for clearing downed trees
- Swiss army knife/multi-tool
- Extra fuel
- Tow Strap
- Extra Food and Water
- Proper clothing and gear
- Basic Tool Kit for Trail
Speaking of maps, Nick Smith, Newaygo County Parks Director, recently put together this map,
highlighting ORV/ATV friendly campgrounds in Newaygo County. Spring is the perfect time to head North for your next adventure!