Upcoming ORV training event good for kids

Kids and off-road vehicles may not necessarily be a combination many parents are particularly comfortable with at first thought. Riding, without taking proper safety precautions, can lead to drastic consequences, an idea unsettling to many parents.

But an upcoming weekend event geared to off-road riders aged 12-16 is aimed at promoting and aiding safe, fun riding for kids and their families.

The Sportsmen’s Off-Road Vehicle Associations of Alger and Delta counties and the Schoolcraft County Motorized Trails Association are hosting the two-day event in the Escanaba and Manistique areas next weekend.

We think this is a great opportunity to help kids become safe riders, practice their skills and enjoy a trail fun ride.

“This event is intended to engage youth ages 12 to 16 in the enjoyment of Michigan’s motorized trails by building their confidence through a free ORV safety class, practical skills training track and hands-on trail-riding experience,” organizers said.

A skills track was constructed two years ago at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba and use of the track will be combined with the trail ride and safety course, which is being offered with the help of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which is providing safety materials and other assistance.

The ORV safety class and the practical skills instruction will be held Saturday, June 8 in Escanaba. The safety class will be from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds. Though the class is geared for ages 12-16, organizers said parents are encouraged to attend.

The ORV practical skills training will be at the training track from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is located in the red activity building near the DNR Pocket Park at the fairgrounds.

Students are encouraged to bring their own ORV, helmet and eye protection if they have it, but four-wheelers will be available for participants to borrow. The event takes place rain or shine.

From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday, June 9, a free fun ride will take riders from the Jack Pine ORV/snowmobile trailhead in the Hiawatha National Forest to the Thunderbowl Scramble Area, weather permitting. The ride covers a distance of 10 miles.

All riders must have their own all-terrain vehicle, must be at least 12 years old and must have their ORV safety certificate in their possession. A proficiency course will be set up at the Thunderbowl, and instructors, law enforcement and grant sponsors will supervise kids riding the course.

These weekend activities can help make this summer safer and more enjoyable for kids on off-road vehicles. Hats off to the ORV groups, the DNR, and all the volunteers helping to make the event happen. What they are doing now can pay handsome dividends in the years ahead.