Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 1, 2002
Last Sunday I ran the Bull Gap system. Fun stuff. I'd say on the west and north side, things are more whooped probably due to the higher sand content and more traffic. Lots of trees down (more on this shortly) making the trail more interesting than it might normally be. Traffic was pretty light, with a dozen or so quads encountered on the whole trail. Ended up with 73 miles on the GPS, although I ran a couple sections twice to get them recorded. Also skipped the ORV Route/SMTR straight line stuff, wasn't interested in that during this ride.
Bull Gap hill was pretty quiet, there were a few quads playing on it. Guess it's a big deal to them to climb it. I stayed out of their way and went up a side trail. Still a good sized hill.
The burned section north of Mack Lake had a lot of deadfall on it, passable, but you had to pick your way through. Maltby Hills area had so much deadfall in one area I couldn't get through. Regardless of which off trail route I tried to make, there was just so many trees down the TTR & I couldn't get to the other side. At least 500 feet of downed trees. I ended up trotting back to the road and did a bit of creative riding to come back around the other side. Couple guys I talked to who were riding there the following weekend indicated they ran up on a few guys with chainsaws clearing the trail. I'd be it's passable now.
I ran up on one groups of quads putting down the trail. I have no objection to people picking their own speeds and this group was definitely taking their time. 6 MPH to be exact, so slow I had trouble keeping the bike straight down the trail. Unfortunately this group was not the best trail "sharers" out there as I was stuck behind them for a mile. Not one of them looked back the whole time, not even the lead group. My TTR is too quiet so they didn't hear it, I didn't feel like yelling as this would only be heard (maybe) by the last in line. People, please, look BEHIND you. If not just to see me back there, at least check to see if your group has crashed or not. The last quad had a child riding double and the adult was letting them steer for much of it - they almost crashed (at 6mph) at one point when the quad grabbed a rut and the kid didn't have the strength to handle it. I was finally able to pass them when we reached the 489 staging area. Of course they stopped in the middle of the trail and this was just yards from the large grassy parking area. Sheesh. As luck would have it, I circled back to this area to record all of the one loop and this group had gone the way I was going back on. Needless to say I overtook them within a few miles and, you guessed it, they were taking another break AND completely blocking the trail. It wasn't like the woods were too thick to move off of the trail, in fact this was at a wide corner where plenty of room for all of them existed. I had to trample through the trees to get around 'em. This would have been a great opportunity to educate fellow riders, but I was not sure I could be tactful enough with 'em at the time.
Trails in the south and east sections are the most fun; not much sand, so not as many whoops, nice trail. Also ran the "most difficult" section, supposed to be bike only and is on the "A" loop, southern section. At first it was just a huge whooped out mess, I'm thinking "WTF? Most difficult due to the pee poor trail or what?" About halfway through it got pretty tight with mud, swamp and tree crossings. Fairly technical for a public trail, worth the whoops for the technical stuff, think it's only a mile or so of optional trail.
Conditions were quite good. In some of the darkest areas by Maltby Hills, there was a bit of ice and a couple sections of snow. Nothing that would stop you on a non-studded machine. Snowmobile trails were greasy and had the occasional spot of dirt covered ice in a dark corner.

Ran the Meadows system on Friday. Parked at the M-33 lot just north of the Pink Store (same place as the weekend before). The connecting trail from 33 to the actual Meadows system doesn't seem to get much use and was in real good shape. Since the plan was to record all of the trail system with the GPS, I hopped on the MCCCT when the trail reached it. I ran that south to the top of the Rose City loop (I have the MCCCT recorded from Gladwin up to that point). The MCCCT through the USFS land is cycle only trail with parallel ATV trail to help keep the quads off of it. The cycle sections are 18" specification and is probably on the narrow side of that. Some of it's a real blast, but a lot of it is whooped to oblivion making it almost painful to ride. I don't think it's been graded in it's 30 year life span. I was able to ride alongside the trail in some of the really bad whooped sections, but some of it was just up/down up/down. The further north on the trail, the funner the trail was, think it's a harder base, but in any case it's worth riding. The parallel ATV trail is a lot faster and also uses about half the trail mileage in the same area (ie MCCCT would be 2 miles in the same distance the ATV trail would be 1 mile). Lots of trees down on this trail as well and only one area that took me a few minutes to make a path around it through the bushes. I ran the MCCCT up to where it joins the ORV trail, although I can't recall if it separates again right away or not (this is a couple miles north of M-72). From there I picked up the ORV trail and ran it back to the Meadows loop. I was impressed with how fast this system is, in fact some sections of non-SMTR was fast enough that I kept backing off due to visibility issues (you could easily out-ride how far ahead you could see). A lot of the western side of the Meadows loop is snowmobile trail, real wide and so-so for riding. There is a bit of trail on it that's fun though. I can say the Meadows loop in general, on the ORV Trail, is a blast. Nice and twisty and not whooped out. Now, there are some sections that were whooped to hell, but it wasn't the majority. I like those winding woods trails that you can get decent cruising speed up and entertain yourself w/o the workout of riding whoops. Fun stuff! Some of it was good enough (and clay base so it's not just a seasonal thing) that I plan to incorporate it into our DS runs for the Safety Patrol Trail Tour next year.
There were about 50/50 bikes and quads on the trail, maybe 15 total. I spoke with one gentleman towards the end of my ride who was on a CR250 for a bit. He and his wife were new to woods riding (or at least that area) and were having a complete blast. His wife was on a 660 Raptor, but get this, it was her first time riding a quad. Took her about 5 minutes to catch up to him and said that she crashed 3 times since their last stop (ouch). That's a bit on the excessively large quad size for a newbie rider, but there you go.
I found out my TTR can do 93 miles of trail before hitting reserve. It'll also do at least seven miles on reserve (road riding) as I didn't have to push to get back to the truck.
I have to double check, but I think my GPS said that it took 5 hours to do 30 miles of that tight MCCCT and 3 hours to do the other 70 miles - obviously a bit of difference in terrain.
Due to the fuel issue, I didn't get the southern half of the "L" loop mapped, so now I have something extra to do when I proof the Safety Patrol ride in a few weeks.

It sure would be nice if Luzerne put in a gas station again.

Other than the few trees here and there (not much on the ORV sections) the trail was in darn good shape. Two small sections of mud covered ice on the shared SMTR, but nothing to get excited about. Ice that was covering a couple puddles on the Bull Gap loop, as well as water in a few others, were already gone when I went back over them to get to the Meadows connector.

Lots of bikes in Rose City and heading up to the area when I was on my way home. Nice to see; prior to this it's been 100% quads.


Sponsoring Member
Apr 6, 2003
I was at the Maltby Hills area on Saturday (4/10). The trail was open (although I nearly was speared off my bike by a large branch - thank goodness for thick jackets!), though there were a TON of down trees. It looked like a tornado went through there. I only saw two people on quads. Very quiet.


Sep 1, 2003
Comforting to know that others have the same opinion of quads as I do. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to deal with these _______?

Fred T

Mi. Trail Riders
Mar 23, 2001
INCA said:
Comforting to know that others have the same opinion of quads as I do. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to deal with these _______?

First off Quad riders need training wheels, thats why they ride quads. Second, in most cases they require very little skill to ride making them popular with more people. Kinda similar to the snowmobiling scene.

The DNR looks at our trail system with their budget and how much work it is in mind. They really don't care if we have the trails or not, they are so busy with so many aspects of the natural Resource managment from hunters, fishing, poaching, tree managment, etc. and their budgets keep getting cut. They claim that what trail we have now is more than they can handle and I think they would like to see it be less that it is right now.

It looks like getting more new trail will be very difficult unless we shut down some existing trail and that would be difficult because of all the approval processes that need to be done to create new trail. (They need to make sure of it's enviormental impact and that it stays off private land.) I like the trail systems that have bike only trail co existing with the quad trails but after a while that stuff gets beat up too bad and the de whooper can't go through it because it's too wide.

Then we see the quads riding on the cycle only trail for what ever reason, probably looking for more of a challenge so then we get less of a challenge when they make it wider and screw it up.

So, then if you want to ride good trails you have to enter an enduro to get some fun trail to ride, but now the only enduros that you can ride will be the ones that are on private land because the DRN will not allow "event only" trail for cross country events because it conflicts with their interests in conserving the enviromment and keeping people off it after the event . Private land owners don't want events on their land because of the liability. (Godda love those lawers!)

So we are getting less and less enduros that we can ride, possibly that we may only have 2 Enduros in MI this year.

So that means that you can ride some cool trails twice this summer, maybe 3 times in MI. Maybe a few in Indiana.

So, the next thing we can do is to ride a few hare scrambles to fill in, but that can get a little boreing ridng the same track for several laps, but at least it's riding the dirt.

Now the only other riding option is to ride MX which requires you to be some one that likes to jump your bike and probably break a few bones in the process from time to time if ya mess up on one of those jumps. I'm getting real old to heal up from that stuff.

ANd the funny thing about it is we got it pretty good here in Michigan compared to many other states except like Washington, Utah, and Oregon I think. Off road riding is slowly going away, more and more each year. Last year we lost the Traverse city enduro for good and now we afe fighting to Keep the Oldest and most famous Enduoe in the country alive -the Jackpine.

If you really want to enjoy our state I suggest you fire off a letter to your senator, congressmen and tell them hoe you feel about your right to ride your bike in the state of Michigan.


Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 16, 2002
2trackr: Excellent trail report! Thanks for taking the time to write and let us know how things are going up there! A couple of quick questoins for you.. Is the gas station in Luzern the one that burned dwon and is located North of Atlanta?? The reason I ask is I had an encounter with fuel needs at that one and ended up testing my KX500's fuel milage BIGTIME because of it!! Also, do you know if the trails farther North are ridable? Tower? Indian River?.
Ted and Fred T.:
THe issue of quads is a double edge sword.. They (the quad folks) generate trail funds and give more numbers to our cause and, more importantly, the "public land" we ride on IS their land too.. I think we need to be really careful how much we bring issue between us common folk about who gets to ride what - the DNR and the Greenies DOENT need our help on their side!! Maybe some convienently placed signs that say "BIKES ONLY" are needed.. Something "DNR looking" but without getting those yahoos involved!! I have found that there is a way to convert quad riders to bikers - you gotta SHOW them that bikes are more fun!! Street legal bikes that are riding the quad trails and LEGALLY riding the VAST Michigan 2tracks is a sure way of doing that. Try stopping and talking to groups of quad riders when they are riding illegally. NICELY tell them that they are in danger of having their equipment impounded and that switching to a STREET LEGAL trail bike eliminates that issue - do it in a non-threating way, like "you know, my brother lost $10,000 worth of equipment to the DNR last year - he is now riding LEGAL bikes and having a BALL"! Then say something like - I gotta rip down that legal 2track where there are NO whoops and NO dust and ride into town past the cop shop and get gas... I have done this on MANY occasions and know for a fact that I have encouraged a few of them to actually get on a bike!! I guess my game is encouraging MORE people to ride MORE - NOT LESS! I sure dont want to give any ammo to the REAL enemies of my sport!! You guys know who they are dont you? They are the JERKWADS who will give you a ticket for riding your bike where there is NO trail because it damages the ground and then hire a logging company to come in the next year and STRIP our land of THOUSANDS of acres of beautiful Oak and Maple trees - leavig behind huge TRENCHES and piles of debris from loaders and NEVER replant our Forests - NOW THESE SUCKERS DESERVE SOME REAL BUTT KICKIN/LETTER WRITING!!!
My 2 cents..


Mi. Trail Riders
Mar 29, 2002
Great trail report. I ride that area quite frequently myself. As far as Luzerne is concerned, I believe that Ma' Deeters has gas available. Was in there for lunch last fall and overheard a waitress telling a couple of guys to pull around the back of the building for fuel.


Sep 1, 2003
Fred T & Woodsy,
My reference to quads was regarding stopping on the trail and not looking behind to let someone pass. However, thank you for spelling out the complete situation. I hope a few get an education on what goes on in the matter of trails. What it really boils down to, is that we are all in this together. The all means any group of any avocation that uses public lands.
I have been working on the trails situation for over three years now by attending meetings and speaking at some of them. Now I'm in the process of putting things together in what you might call a report. As both of you put forth, it is not a pretty picture. If the time and resources were available it would be nice to find the key log and put things on easy street.
As a matter of information, in Arkansas, there is no problem with bike on the trails. As for the horse riders, if they can get beyond sight of the barn they're lucky.
Hoping all this helps,
Young Ted
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