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State Parks encourages snowmobilers to ride safely


Tue, Dec 26th 2023 10:55 am

Stay on designated/opened trails, avoid frozen bodies of water, check speed

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) is reminding snowmobilers to ride responsibly and put safety first as they enjoy New York state’s outstanding snowmobiling opportunities.

Historically, the two leading causes of snowmobiler injury in New York are excessive speed and operator intoxication. Additionally, riding on ice is a risk that should be taken seriously.

Top OPRHP safety recommendations include:

√ INSPECT and properly maintain your snowmobile; make sure it is in good working order and carry emergency supplies

√ ALWAYS wear a helmet with DOT-certified standards and make sure you wear appropriate snowmobile gear including bibs, jackets, boots and gloves to withstand the elements (cold temperatures and moisture)

√ ALWAYS ride with a buddy or group and tell a responsible person where you will be riding and your expected return time

√ SLOW DOWN. Ride responsibly. Ride within your ability, ride to the right and always operate at a safe and prudent speed

√ STAY ON MARKED TRAILS. Respect landowners and obey posted signs

√ NEVER drink alcohol or use drugs and ride

√ FROZED BODIES OF WATER are not designated trails; if you plan to ride on ice, proceed with caution and be aware of potential hazards under the snow. If you choose to ride on ice, wear a snowmobile suit with flotation built-in and carry a set of ice picks as a precaution.

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, visit the following link: https://parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles/education.aspx. A safety certificate is required for youthful operators between ages 10 and 17, if they want to ride solo on a New York state trail.

Before heading out, riders are reminded to check the latest trail conditions with local snowmobile clubs. To find a club, visit the New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA) website at www.nysnowmobiler.com.

Also review the latest trail conditions, visit NYSSA’s trail map via the following link: https://webapps2.cgis-solutions.com/nysnowmobile/.

A press release noted, “Joining a snowmobile club helps support snowmobiling in New York state. Club members receive a discounted registration fee and help support the clubs who make up the backbone of the New York state snowmobile trail system.”

Snowmobile season begins at different times across the state, with regard to multiple factors: the close of big game hunting seasons for both the northern and southern hunting zones (per the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: https://www.dec.ny.gov/things-to-do/hunting/deer-bear/seasons), local laws and ordinance, and sufficient snow accumulation in your area (greater than 3”). As such, check with your local snowmobile club or contact NYSSA directly to learn whether local trails are opened or closed.

OPRHP 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 https://parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles/.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 79.5 million visits in 2022. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app or call 518-474-0456. Join in celebrating the centennial throughout 2024, and connect on FacebookInstagram, X/Twitter and the OPRHP blog

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