2016-09-29 / Front Page

ORV Bridge Crossing Is Sat.

Riders Will Explore EUP Trails Starting From St. Ignace

A convoy of 743 off-road vehicles (ORV) will cross the Mackinac Bridge Saturday morning, October 1, in Trek the Mac, and afterward the riders will gain access to the vast expanse of off-road riding trails in the Upper Peninsula.

Following the railroad grade from St. Ignace, ORV riders can gain access to the 70 miles of trails in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, most significantly the Brevort- Trout Lake Trail, which includes 58 miles of trails northwest of Brevort Lake. Riders in the EUP can ride as far north as Sault Ste. Marie on ORV trails.

Getting trail riding enthusiasts into the U.P. to enjoy the trails is part of the purpose of Trek the Mac, said Inland Lakes ORV club president Mike Maves.

“It’s all about the financial impact of the communities we travel in,” he said.

Events such as Trek the Mac serve as introductions to the Upper Peninsula for tourists who would typically not be exposed to riding in the northern part of Michigan.

Mr. Maves said riders enjoy the rare chance to drive their ORVs across the Mackinac Bridge.

“You really feel like an ant on a big structure,” he said of the Straits crossing. “It’s definitely a really cool feeling.”

The St. Ignace Visitors Bureau has registered 743 vehicles and 1,223 people for the event, down from last year, when 1,340 vehicles and 2,400 people attended. Registration has closed for this year.

Mr. Maves believes the cold weather experienced during the ride last year likely discouraged some from returning this year.

Once the drivers arrive in St. Ignace, Mr. Maves and the St. Ignace Special Events Committee, which organizes the event, hope the drivers will find trails and activities in the area to explore and enjoy.

Staging of the vehicles will begin in Mackinaw City Friday, September 30, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Darrow’s Gravel Pit. On Saturday, busses will shuttle participants from their motels in St. Ignace, starting at 6:30 a.m. A mandatory pre-ride meeting will take place in Mackinaw City at 8:30 a.m. The bridge crossing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

Once the riders cross the Mackinac Bridge, they will proceed through Straits State Park in St. Ignace, to South State Street, where they will continue through downtown St. Ignace until they reach Little Bear East Arena.

A lunch at Little Bear East Arena will follow the bridge crossing. A beer tent will serve refreshments from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Billy Jewell and the Bad Habits will perform from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is open to the public. Price of admission is $5.

Throughout the day, ORV riders are expected to travel throughout the EUP. Mr. Maves said many of the event participants will stay in St. Ignace for an extended weekend.

“You can make a four-day trip, no problem,” based on the event, he said.

At 5 p.m., Saturday, an awards ceremony for riders will take place at the arena.

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