Blessing of the ORVs continues to grow in Irons; Sunday, May 28

May 23, 2023

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Blessing of the ORVs continues to grow in Irons; Sunday, May 28

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

IRONS — A week after the popular Blessing of the Bikes weekend in Baldwin, another blessing event will take place a few miles to the north with the annual Blessing of the ORVs on Sunday, May 28 at Skinner Park in Irons. 

The event is sponsored by the Manistee Forest ORV Club (MFO), a subcommittee of the Irons Area Tourist Association. 

Event organizer Howard Campbell said the event started six years ago as a way to raise awareness about safe ORV riding in Lake County. “That first year, I predicted we would have 35 ORVs. We ended up with over 200. Last year we had 450 ORVs. 

The park opens at 10 a.m. and the blessing will take place at 1 p.m. Entry is $5 per ride with free reentry with sticker.   

The event is MFO’s major fundraiser. Campbell said the MFO was formed as a request from Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin as a way to teach people how to follow ORV laws and ride safely. The group also lobbies legislators in Lansing to pass ORV-friendly legislation. 

“There are a lot of clubs out there and we completely support them. But, our focus is more on education and politics,” Campbell said. “We also groom the state ORV trails as well.” 

“ORV use continues to grow and it’s become very popular in Lake County and the surrounding areas. I’m not sure if our event will ever be as big as Blessing of the Bikes, but it certainly is one of the biggest ORV gatherings in the state.” 

The event will also include vendors, food, MFO clothes and products, personal assistance from trail experts and direct interaction with law enforcement and Department of Natural Resources officials. 

For Mason County riders who may be considering riding to the Blessing, ORVs are legal on roads and streets in all Mason County municipalities (including the cities of Ludington and Scottville) with the exception of Meade Township, which happens to be the closest Mason County township to Irons. ORVs must have a Michigan ORV sticker in order to be driven on county roads and city and village streets and cannot exceed 25 mph. They cannot be driven on a state highway unless they are plated and insured for street use (in that case they are considered a regular vehicle). While most ORV ordinances are similar riders should be familiar with the ORV in their specific township or town. Many of the roads in the Manistee National Forest are now open to ORV usage. Lake County has a county-wide ORV ordinance. 

 

Click here for more details on the Blessing of the ORVs.

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