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      Snowmobile trails get a facelift

      Snowmobile trail signs are being downsized
      When snowmobilers hit the woods this winter, it might seem like something's missing.

      Don Britton, a longstanding member of the Snowmobiling Advisory Workgroup and Michigan's Snowmobile Association, explains the big change.

      "There's a new sign program that we're doing to remove a lot of the informational signage. The idea is to sign turns, not curves," explained Britton.

      Multiple chevrons are being replaced by two simple signals: 90 degree turn ahead and a directional arrow at the sight of the turn. Britton believes the lack of signs will force riders to be more aware of the conditions and take on more responsibility for their safety.

      After studying similar programs in Wisconsin and Ontario, the Michigan Snowmobile Association found a decrease in signage led to a decrease in accidents.

      Ron Yesney, the Recreation Management Specialist at the DNR, is a proponent of the philosophy and has gradually implemented their methods.

      "The problem with having too many signs is that riders ride from sign to sign rather than paying attention to the trail itself. By having fewer signs, it puts more onus back on the rider to pay attention to the trail and to slow down and to ride in a safer manner," added Yesney.

      Sign clutter is being consolidated considerably as snowmobile and off-road vehicle signs will become one and the same. But regardless of how many signs line the trail, the DNR believes the zero tolerance policy remains paramount.

      Everyone involved hopes these changes will ensure the trails are family friendly, available to everyone, and safe for years to come.