fairgroveoilpropane wb

Fun Activities in MISORVA

By Jim Duke

Since the restructuring of the Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA) to include some categories of off-road vehicles and name change to the Michigan Snowmobile and ORV Association (MISORVA), the officers and board members have been working tirelessly to present an equal, unbiased image to those opiniated from the onset that this merger would never be successful and that the two shared nothing in common other than both were motorized recreational vehicles and shared the same trails, just not at the same time.

Back in June of 2019, the Recreation Committee reinvented the MSA’s annual Campout, complete with a name change and an agenda of fun activities. The new name is the MISORVA Summer Campout and ORV Ride. The location was the Headwaters Cabins & Campground near Frederic. More than 60 members and guests enjoyed all this particular event had to offer, including a guided ORV ride, a corn hole tournament, some fun games for both children and adults, and much more. Suffice to say the camaraderie alone was well worth the time, and the event was labeled a huge success.

Fast forward to the winter recreational season and, with plenty of snow, most of the same members happily enjoyed all that Mother Nature dished up. During the second weekend in February, the Recreation Committee put together a winter Ride-In package to be envied by all. The facility was Lac View Desert’s Northern Waters Casino & Resort in Watersmeet. Although it was quite a distance to travel, especially for those living in the southernmost locations of the lower peninsula, more than 60 members and guests made the trip.

The Summer Camp Out has incorporated an ORV ride into the itinerary and the line-up is ready to go.
The table snowmobile races at the Winter Ride-In were just one of several fundraisers available.

The itinerary was quite extensive with something to keep everyone busy regardless of whether it was heading out on the trails, doing a bit of sightseeing by vehicle, or just hanging back at the hotel relaxing or doing a little gambling. Activities began with a Thursday evening get-acquainted reception with a cash bar and a buffet of both hot and cold hors d’oeuvres. There were the usual activities connected with such events, like the silent auction, fifty-fifty drawing and plenty of prizes given to the lucky participants of the drawings, but I believe one of the games devised by the committee — the miniature snowmobile races — was the most successful of the event. This game kept plenty of folks busy both Thursday evening and Friday evening until dinner.

Both Friday and Saturday were filled with fun things to do, whether inside or out. Those who elected to check out the snowmobile trails and participate in the “fun-runs” found most trails very rideable and collecting the stamps a bit of a challenge, but everyone said they had a great time. From the food and beverages category, the facility went above and beyond expectations and provided some of the best buffet selections to be found anywhere. The Rec Committee selected the menu and the kitchen staff that made it delightful and delicious. Kudos to all that made the 2020 Winter Ride-In a success.

In June, again for the second time, the Headwaters Cabins & Campground in the northern lower peninsula was selected for the 2020 Summer ORV Ride and Campout. Hosts Edna and Mike were more than accommodating with the plans and preparations, which began almost immediately upon completion of the winter activities. Unfortunately, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, better known as COVID-19, has caused every planned event of almost every organization in the state to either be postponed or completely canceled. In keeping with the governor’s executive orders, the summer activities have been rescheduled to take place on the second weekend in September, but even this may be too soon and is still just tentative.

But, in keeping with the 2019 agenda, there is another guided ORV ride planned, and several folks have already committed to bringing additional quads and side-by-sides to introduce members and guests who do not own one to the enjoyment of a summer ride through the woods. Snowmobilers are well versed with such activities when the landscape is white and in its winter splendor, but the scenery is completely different when the snow has melted away and the green of summer vegetation is in bloom.

So, these are just a few of the fun things the Recreation Committee puts together for an annual routine, but the association has many other activities throughout the year, sometimes two or three per month.

For example, the Groomer Workshop usually takes place in early March and is an event where the grant sponsors and groomer operators can get the latest information on how best to provide their reports to the program managers and get the best feedback in return. It’s an opportunity to see the newest innovations in equipment, such as tractors and groomer drags, and to meet the manufacturers’ representatives to discuss which best suits each grant sponsor’s needs. But this event isn’t just for the trails grooming folks, it’s open to the public and anyone with a thirst for the knowledge of what goes into making snowmobile trails smooth and safe.

Event Chair Don Reed kicks off the morning program with introductions.
The Snowmobile Advisory Workgroup (SAW) was very well attended at the All Trails Advisory meetings.
The Recreation Committee: Amy Rottier, Rich Rottier and Karyn Hautamaki.

And then there are the meetings… OK, maybe the board meetings, periodic meetings with the legislators or the SAW and MTAC meetings with the DNR don’t sound like much fun, but they are necessary for the communications between users and the regulators to make sure available funding is spent wisely and for the proper projects. Maybe the networking conferences with other states where snowmobiling is a prime source of winter revenue don’t offer much interest to the general public, but the camaraderie and mutual friendship garnered is well worth the time spent — and can last a lifetime. And, finally, maybe the interest isn’t strong enough to be actively engaged in the ever-present conflicts with the anti-everything miscreants who threaten the ability to access public lands by motorized recreationalists, but we should be thankful every day for their passion.

Perhaps it is the common belief that becoming a member of a local club, regional or state association places some obligation on its members to perform duties and tasks they may find undesirable, but that myth is false. The truth is that being a member offers stability to the future of recreational freedoms for everyone by allowing a louder voice to be heard in the halls and chambers where governing decisions are made. Members have no more obligation than they wish to accept, other than to offer financial support through payment of dues.

So much for the “soapbox speech” and deviation from the purpose of this article, which is to basically inform readers of the many fun activities available to members and guests of the Michigan Snowmobile and ORV Association as well as the other — maybe not so fun, but necessary — activities that make up the annual schedule of events. It is also important to mention the benefits of belonging to a club and that the state and national organizations labor continuously for all snowmobilers. Without them, there would be no decent trails, no legal access to public lands and no safe means of recreational freedoms. Just a little food for thought, eh?

Scroll to Top