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Snowmobilers rev engines of anticipation

Sunday’s snowfall may be just enough for snowmobilers to hit the trails throughout the Door Peninsula. The Door County Parks Department announced Monday that three of its four snowmobile zones would open, though trails in the southwest and north are listed as being in poor conditions. Kewaunee County trails are still closed, but the Moonriders Snowmobile Club in Kewaunee hopes the combination of hard work, sunny days, and cold nights could bring better news later in the week. When the trails do open, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski advises snowmobilers to always be mindful of their surroundings.

Door County Snowmobile Coordinator Ben Nelson says snowmobilers must also stay on the trails at all times and stay off of them if they are closed. Not doing so could alienate private landowners who help make the trails possible.



          With the recent snowfall we received along with what is anticipated in the upcoming days, I think it is safe to say that we are ready to fully enjoy the winter sports here in Kewaunee County. Whether it is Fat Tire biking at Ryan Park, or enjoying the hills at our Winter Park, there is no shortage of opportunities to get outside and enjoy this winter wonderland. There may even be some snowmobile trail riding in our future if conditions continue. For this article I would like to focus on the snowmobile riding aspect just to get everyone thinking about the safety side of things.

        First and Foremost, I would like to thank the area snowmobile clubs for their tireless efforts in making the snowmobile routes a reality. For the past few years the weather did not cooperate and we had very limited trail dates. It will be good to see their hard work pay off this year. Also big thanks to all of the property owners who allow these trails to run across their property. This is purely voluntary on their part and we are grateful for their generosity.

         While the enforcement of snowmobile regulations is typically handled by the Department of Natural Resources, there are some basic safety tips and guidelines that we in law enforcement would like you to observe as well. When operating on public trails, please be aware that a portion of these trails are on the Ahnapee trail system, and that there are many users of that system other than snowmobilers. If you see someone walking or cross- country skiing please slow down and use caution when meeting. There are also good portions of the public trail that utilize private lands. Please be respectful and stay on the trail, as a great deal of damage can be done by a snowmobile to those areas not groomed. Also, leaving the trail poses greater risks to you and your equipment as there are many hazards you may not see until it is too late. When crossing roads, please follow the signage which has been posted, and realize you have the same obligation on a snowmobile as you would in a vehicle.

          It goes without saying that operating while intoxicated is just as dangerous on a snowmobile as it is in a vehicle. Unfortunately we have seen a continued number of serious injury accidents, as well as fatalities throughout the state due to intoxicated operation of a snowmobile. If you would like more information on snowmobile safety, please visit: 

         Also, if traveling across frozen lakes or rivers, be extremely cautious. While inland lakes may be a bit more consistent, those ice covered rivers do maintain a current beneath the ice which can result in varying thickness and even areas of open water that may be not easily visible when on a moving snowmobile. Even if merely walking across a lake or river be aware of the potential danger. We have had numerous incidents within our state of individuals either falling through the ice or getting stranded on shifting ice. No fish is worth that risk!

          If you are curious about the status of our local trails, please call our Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Hotline at (920)388-7199. This hotline provides information on local trails and is updated when conditions change.

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