In Upper Peninsula city, law enforcement cracking down on snowmobile violations

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers work their recent joint snowmobile enforcement patrol with the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office in the city of Houghton. (Michigan DNR)

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers teamed up with deputies from the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office to address several recent loud noise complaints in the Upper Peninsula city of Houghton.

The group sound enforcement patrol was conducted Feb. 11 along Trail No. 3 at Kestner Waterfront Park.

“We were targeting snowmobile safety violations, registration and trail permit compliance, along with sound enforcement,” said Sgt. Ryan Aho, a DNR area law supervisor from the Ishpeming office.

More than 450 snowmobilers were contacted throughout the day by the officers in the group patrol. Various law violations were addressed.

“Many positive comments were received from local residents who live on Lakeshore Drive, thanking conservation officers for enforcing the sound emissions regulation on snowmobiles,” said DNR Conservation Officer Mark Leadman.

Under Michigan law, the muffler on a snowmobile must be in good working order and, when in constant operation, noise emission cannot exceed 88 decibels at a distance of 13.1 feet. This is measured using the 2004 Society of Automotive Engineers standard J2567 for a stationary snowmobile manufactured after July 1, 1980.

Riders whose sleds exceed the established noise limits can be ticketed.

During the Houghton enforcement effort, 15 riders were ticketed for exceeding the 88-decibel limit. In a similar patrol the same day, in Grand Marais in Alger County, conservation officers ticketed nine snowmobilers for exceeding the decibel sound limit. Also, seven tickets were issued for registration violations, three tickets were issued for failure to obtain a trail permit and 29 verbal warnings were given for various registration and trail permit violations.

Enforcing snowmobile noise violations is part of a statewide effort to create more enjoyable experiences for all trail riders, and to help ensure the state’s 6,200 miles of snowmobile trails – half of which run through private land – remain open to snowmobilers in the future.

Michigan’s vast snowmobile trail system is the result of partnerships with private landowners who, through annual leases between the landowners and snowmobile clubs, open portions of their land for snowmobile trails.

For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, including current laws and regulations, visit the DNR’s website at

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