"Somebody played with the signs on this 20-mile stretch. It’s dangerous."
Signs switched around along miles of Northern Michigan trails…
Many of these signs were just plain stolen.
That includes dozens of signs used for emergencies.
It’s a mess that cost trail groomers hundreds of dollars to fix.
Sign bandits hit about 25 miles of trails in and around Boon Township in Wexford County.
9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Derrick Larr went out to get to the bottom of the problem.
“This is the first actual time we’ve had signs stolen and switched around,” says Bob Flewelling, Vice-President of Cadillac Winter Promotions
Someone could see a sign like this and think "This is the way to go"…
A few weeks ago — that might not have been true.
“Stop signs missing, in the wrong direction arrow signs, and all of our 911s were gone,” says James Thomas, Cadillac Winter Promotions trail coordinator.
Thomas and Flewelling spend hours grooming the trails for snowmobilers every winter.
The mess cost $500 to fix.
“I was mad about it because we spend a lot of time out here because we are all volunteers,” Thomas says. “You go through and you do it once, then you got to come back and do it again and a third time. And it’s expensive."
The signs are important and we spend a lot of time trying to keep them up,” Flewelling says.
These orange trail markers that mark the 30-plus trails of Wexford County were the ones that were switched around.
When they are, that can cause problems.
If you take a look also, those 911 signs that mark coordinates of locations…some were stolen, which could cause even bigger problems.
“They are for emergencies,” Thomas says. “If anybody gets hurt, they call 911 and they will come out right at that area. They know where to come to."
The sheriff’s department is looking into it, but haven’t yet found the sign switcher.
“It’s just very important that they are left so that the people can be helped,” Flewelling says.