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      Kids learn how to ride ATVs safely

      Every day, ATV riders travel the U.P.'s unique trails. But inexperience can lead to fatal consequences.

      That's why the Ontonagon-based Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and the Environment, or "Mi-TRALE" organization, has made it its mission to protect young riders.

      President of mi-TRALE, Skip Schulz, says giving kids safety and riding tips can help avert bad habits that lead to accidents.

      "The biggest bad habit that people of all ages have in riding an ATV is understanding how an ATV was built so it can work and function safely," said Schulz. "If they can learn young enough, they can use the safety features of an ATV to their advantage."

      Schulz sees opportunity in the next generation. He says they can promote and draw riding to the U.P.

      "We have the opportunity to bring a lot of tourists here. Now the way to do it is to make sure young people know about it and know how to do it right. They now know where they can ride for miles and miles," Schulz said.

      Before the class hits the dirt, they have to hit the books. Students spent hours reviewing the rules and regulations ahead of a written test. After completing the tests, the students came to Skip's backyard where they practiced their riding skills. Skip says this course is the safest place to learn and to make mistakes.

      The young wheelers took on ditches, rounded dozens of cones, and ended their run with an abrupt stopping maneuver.

      Even after spending six hours in a class, the kids seemed to think it was all worth it to be able to ride.

      When asked what his favorite part of the day was, a proud Adam Laux said, "I got to drive a four wheeler and I almost ran into a cone."