KATV Club seeks new members

Courtesy of KATV Club The Keweenaw ATV Club has already been using their volunteers to work on the ORV Trails.

The off-road vehicle riding season is here. For a majority of the riders, they have either taken their ATV or SXS to get serviced or did the work themselves. Some have ventured out for an early season ride, while others are waiting for warmer weather.

For a few ORV enthusiasts, they have already put in a lot of hours on the trail. Not to enjoy the sport they love, but to volunteer their time working on the trails. They are not doing this to make a few dollars, as they are volunteers.

With one of the best ORV Trail Networks in the state and in the United States, many trail riders take it for granted that those trails will always be there. They take it for granted that the trails will be in good shape, signs will be up, and this past winter fallen trees and bridge repair will all be taken care of.

Yes, many local and visiting riders are taking the work the volunteers of the Keweenaw ATV Club (KATV) do for granted. That is until they find out a bridge is out, or a trail is closed, such as the trail from Dollar Bay to Lake Linden.

“The trail from Lake Linden has finally been repaired. This was done at a cost of over $10 million. We ask that riders on this new trail refrain from aggressive driving. This is to prevent premature damage on this trail…and all the trails,” commented Daryl St. John of the KATV Club.

Yes, the trail sticker fees helped cover the engineering, heavy equipment and material costs for that trail and all the Michigan DNR designated trails. Your trail sticker fees is not used to pay the KATV volunteers. The new Lake Linden Trail had to turn to other funding sources above and beyond the trail sticker account.

With the support of the KATV business sponsors, minimal membership fees and individuals, the club has their own grader. St. John says, “the grader doesn’t run on diesel fuel, it runs on donations!’

The few volunteers that helped build the club, build an amazing ORV Trail Network, and they are getting older. They have logged hundreds of hours putting up trail signs.

“We had to put up the new signs for the new Lake Linden Trail. The trail to High Rock is now a DNR Designated ATV Trail. It is signed as the BR Trail,” St. John stated.

To become a state designated trail, the KATV club had to do a lot of work in the office, on the phone and in the forest. It didn’t just happen overnight.

“Improvements and repairs are in the planning stage, running from near the huge Estevan Pines and south to the main trail B,” St. John says. “A bridge must be erected over the Montreal River. That work will be a joint effort of The Nature Conservancy and the DNR.”

The few die-hard volunteers are also planning on upgrading and laying gravel down for about 3 miles, running from Phoenix to Central.

“No trail closures are anticipated at this time, but that may change at any time. Please abide by trail closed and detour signs. For your safety, stay far away from logging equipment,” St. John reports.

All this requires money from membership fees — and help. St. John and the actives don’t expect anyone to put in the volunteer work and long hours like the few die-hards have been doing for years.

All they are asking is to join the KATV and put in a weekend this spring, summer or fall. Yes, if you had more time and want to help to keep the trails open, that would be greatly appreciated but one weekend’s not asking for too much.

Get your family and riding friends together to volunteer on one part of one trail.

“We need younger people to get involved in the KATV Club. We can’t do this forever,” concluded St. John.


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