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By: Joanne M. Haas/Bureau of Law Enforcement
The state’s snowmobile safety administrator is reminding all snowmobilers to follow the orange diamond trail markers to ensure the 25,000 miles of Wisconsin trails groomed by volunteers stay open.
Conservation Warden Gary Eddy, who serves as the Department of Natural Resources ATV/Snowmobile Administrator, also is reminding out-of-state snowmobilers of the state requirement to purchase a non-resident trail pass before enjoying any of the state trails.
Wisconsin has ideal snowmobiling conditions in the southern half, Eddy says, thanks to an early winter storm that has brought many to the trails.
“Not everyone is remembering trail etiquette, and the fact these trails cross private lands thanks to agreements reached between the local snowmobile club and the landowner,” Eddy said, adding these agreements take hours of discussions. “Riding outside these trail makers is considered trespass and can damage property or crops.”
“Landowners observing damage to their property often ask that the trail be closed,” Eddy said, adding he has heard from some private landowners concerned with operators going off the marked routes. “When trails are closed in the middle of the season, club members scramble to reroute the trail, post new trail markers and brush out new trails – all during the dead of winter.
“Snowmobilers who opt to disrespect the trails, volunteers and the landowner make all operators look bad,” Eddy said.
Non-resident trail passes required
Another early season reminder is to out-of-state guests to purchase their trail passes before hitting any of the state’s trails. “You also may register your snowmobile in Wisconsin rather than purchasing a non-resident trail pass,” he said.
To register your snowmobile online and to find a trail pass sales location near you visit the WI DNR website at: http://dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “snowmobile.”
Out of state riders may also purchase over the phone by calling WDNR at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).