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Snowmobiles allowed on Ottawa County roads?

Mark Brooky • Dec 21, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Betsy of Grand Haven wrote, “I see a lot a squabbles on Facebook and among neighbors this time of year about snowmobiling. Some folks say snowmobiles are allowed along the shoulder of the road and in ditches on the 33-foot road right of way, per DNR state snowmobiling laws. Others say Ottawa County, along with Kent, have stricter snowmobiling laws that supersede state laws and thus the machines are not allowed alongside roads here. I am not a snowmobiler, and it surprised me how difficult it was trying to find a correct answer to this question. Can you help?”

Answer:

Betsy, what you describe is not currently allowed in Ottawa County.

Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department explained that a state law (Public Act 240 of 2008) enables Michigan’s counties to enable snowmobiles and off-road vehicles to travel on the road or road shoulder. However, a county’s road commission must also approve it for that particular county.

The Ottawa County Road Commission has not enacted the ordinance, according to Austin, and therefore snowmobiles are not allowed on the public roadways here.

“Snowmobiles are not allowed on the traveled or plowed portion of a county roadway,” Austin said. “They are allowed on the unimproved portion of the right of way, as long as they are not on personal property, which is basically the snowbank or ditch.”

That is also true for Muskegon and Kent counties, and most other counties in the south half of the Lower Peninsula.

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