MICHIGAN – There are more than 2,200 miles of Forest Service roads and trails open to off-highway vehicles on the Ottawa National Forest. To maintain these trails, the Ottawa National Forest relies profoundly on partners and volunteers.
Through collaboration between the Missoula Technology and Development Center, Regional Office, Ottawa National Forest, and partner Don Helsel, President of Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and the Environment, the Ottawa received a trail rake that is now used by MI-TRALE partners to maintain off-highway vehicle trails across the forest. Designed by MTDC, the trail rake was developed to be pulled with an all-terrain vehicle, while allowing the user to adjust the swivel and height of the rake from the ATV handle bars. MI –TRALE staff put the rake into use during the summer months testing the rakes performance and testing alterations to the equipment, then provided feedback to MTDC to further knowledge on the trail rake’s designed performance.
The rake performed well and will increase OHV trail tread life considerably by raking trail base material, relocated to the sides of the trail through normal use, back onto the trail tread. MI-TRALE will be the primary users of the new trail rakes. Their mission is to advance the safe and responsible use of multi-use trails for both motorized and non-motorized trail recreationists, by working towards the development, designation and interconnection of multi-use trails in the western upper peninsula of Michigan.
This new tool will be an asset in maintaining the more than 520 miles of multi-use trail maintained by MI-TRALE. This collaborative effort is just one more example of the quality recreation experiences that are made available on the Ottawa National Forest using collaborative partnerships.