Snowmobilers urged to follow designated trails and avoid frozen bodies of water
Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
The Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation are reminding snowmobilers to ride responsibly and put safety first as they enjoy the state's abundant snowmobiling opportunities.
"With recent tragedies in mind, DEC is encouraging snowmobilers to follow common-sense safety recommendations. In addition to wearing a helmet, snowmobilers are encouraged to stick to designated trails," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Given the warmer temperatures we've had this winter, lakes and ponds that appear to be frozen over may be deceiving. Venturing out on ice that is not thick enough can lead to tragedy, and we want to ensure that snowmobilers have an enjoyable time while also taking proper precautions to stay safe."
Four inches of ice is usually safe for accessing ice on foot - double that thickness for traveling on white ice. Ice thickness can vary on every body of water or even within the same body of water. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be considered evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done with an auger or ice spud at various spots.
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "With 10,500 miles of state-designated snowmobile trails, New York is a premier destination for snowmobiling. We want everyone to enjoy our trail system, but encourage them to know the safety regulations and follow them to help ensure riders and their families have a great time."
Everyone operating a snowmobile should be familiar with safe riding practices and all applicable laws, rules and regulations. The best way to learn is by taking a snowmobile safety course. To find a course, go to www.nysparks.com/recreation/snowmobiles/education.aspx. A safety certificate is required for youth between ages 10 and 18.
Before heading out, riders are reminded to check trail conditions with local snowmobile clubs. To find a club, visit the New York State Snowmobile Association website at www.nysnowmobiler.com.
Top safety recommendations include:
State Parks oversees the development, maintenance and oversight of a statewide snowmobile program, which features approximately 10,500 miles of state-designated snowmobile trails. For more information on snowmobiling in New York, visit www.nysparks.com/recreation/snowmobiles.