We are fortunate to have so many recreational possibilities available to us in Michigan. Many power sports enthusiasts hit the trails all year long providing great opportunities to get the younger generation involved and learning about our natural resources. Not only can kids actively participate in many of these activities, but they can become stewards and learn how to care for our woods.
Of course, the key is to make sure that kids are SAFELY involved in these activities. Kids can take a snowmobile class as early as 12 years of age to operate a machine alone with parental supervision. ORV use is permitted as early as age 10 with an ORV Safety Certificate, which can be obtained online through the DNR’s website. Children younger than 10 can accompany you on your machine with the proper safety equipment as long as you’re following the manufacturers recommended capacity. Rules and restrictions can be found in detail on the Michigan DNR website.
Personally, my kids have grown up riding snowmobiles, ATVs, side x sides and dirt bikes and we’ve made many memories while doing so! What I feel is important to remember is that this isn’t only a time for fun but education. Kids are going to watch how you act while out riding, how you treat the land and how you follow the rules. Set a good example for them so the future of our sport has a solid foundation to grow on. Take opportunities to explain signs and what they mean, point out areas where others have disrespected the land, clean up garbage left behind by others, and VOLUNTEER in one of your local organizations! Take the time to instill good practices now before they have a chance to learn the wrong way from someone else. They are the future of our sports!