Mullett Lake trail has been open for one week
By VICTOR SKINNER
CHEBOYGAN — State police are investigating the first conflict between landowners and snowmobilers on the West Mullett Lake snowmobile trail — less than a week after the hotly contested path reopened.
A property owner adjacent to the path allegedly harassed and threatened two Cheboygan County snowmobilers Monday afternoon after they pulled off the trail to let a snow groomer pass, state police said.
The property owner told the snowmobilers twice to get off his property and threatened "that he would get his gun,” police said.
"They don't have a choice if the groomer is coming through,” said state police Sgt. Rashelle Hosh. "This is the situation where they literally just parked off the side of the trail and the homeowner came out and confronted them.”
Hosh said the groomer was headed in the opposite direction as the snowmobilers and no property damage occurred when they pulled off the trail.
State police are withholding the names of the snowmobilers and the property owner until Cheboygan County's prosecutor reviews the case.
The 12-mile stretch known as the West Mullett Lake trail is part of a larger 45-mile trail that runs between Cheboygan and Gaylord. The trail was previously off-limits to snowmobilers and other motorized traffic until Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries lifted the ban. The trail reopened Dec. 1.
The state promised to keep the route a quiet non-motorized recreation trail when the land was purchased with Michigan Natural Resource Trust dollars in 1998.
But the trail became a sore spot with adjacent land owners when state officials reneged on the deal and made it a designated state snowmobile trail.
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