As temperatures drop and winter weather stacks up, the state has some safety tips for area snowmobilers.
“Recent snowfall has created good conditions for snowmobiling in parts of the state. The best way to enjoy New York’s incredible network of trails is to make safety a top priority for yourself and others out on the trail,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey in a release.
“Knowing and following safety recommendations will help ensure that you and your friends and family will have a great time on the trail.”
New York State has 10,400 miles of snowmobile trails, with 650 miles of groomed trails in Oneida County.
To promote snowmobiling, the weekend of Jan. 25 has been announced as a free snowmobiling weekend for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers, where the registration requirement is automatically waived.
• Check your snowmobile before every ride to make sure it is in proper working order and has a full stock of emergency supplies.
• Always wear a helmet and other important safety gear, including bibs, jackets, boots and gloves.
• Never ride alone.
• Ride responsibly within your ability level.
• Ride at a prudent speed and keep to the right on trails.
• Respect landowners, obey posted signs and stay on the marked trails.
• Be cautious on frozen lakes and other frozen bodies of water. They are not part of groomed trails, and there may be potential hazards or thin ice hidden beneath fallen snow. Four inches of ice is usually safe for traveling on foot, and eight inches is usually safe for riding on a snowmobile. The existence of footprints or snowmobile tracks on ice is not evidence that the area is still safe for traveling.
• Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs and ride.
Information on snowmobile safety courses are available at the state parks website www.parks.ny.gov/recreation/snowmobiles, and information on your local snowmobile club is available at www.nysnowmobiler.com.