Thursday, April 16, 2015
Snowmobile Damage in the Grand Sable Dunes
The other day while hiking in the Grand Sable Dunes with Jamey and Lois, we noticed considerable damage caused by snowmobiles that were illegally driving in the dunes. i have seen snowmobile tracks up there before, but not nearly as many as exist this spring. We walked around half way across the dunes and saw tracks, damaged surface vegetation, and broken evergreens -- everywhere.
Vegetation plays a critical role in the natural cycles of dune erosion and recovery that occurs in the dunes. Even small losses in dune vegetation can lead to significant wind erosion. It can take decades for dunes to recover.
There are hundreds of miles of legal snowmobiling trails. It is legal to drive your snowmobiles on Grand Sable Lake. However, it is not legal to drive snowmobiles in the sand dunes. If you get caught, you can receive a $275 fine. There was at least one case many years ago wherein the snowmobiles were confiscated for the remainder of the snowmobile season, and unfortunately (in my opinion) eventually returned to the owners.
Please respect this fragile ecosystem and stay out of the sand dunes with all motor vehicles.