Know Before You Ride

(December 15, 2016) – Although much of the northern half of Wisconsin has experienced colder temperatures and accumulating snow the past week, the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) wants to remind snowmobilers many – if not most – snowmobile trails in Wisconsin are not open yet.

Before a trail can be opened, the ground under the snow needs to be frozen to ensure trails crossing wet areas are safe. In agricultural areas, adequate snow is necessary to protect the ground and crops the trail travels over. To ensure you know which trails are open in your community, go to at or for an up to date status of the area or county you’re interested in riding.

After trails are opened, be aware as early season riding conditions magnify possible hazards under the snow. Snowmobilers should always ride with caution and NEVER ride on any lakes or rivers without checking with locals to ensure the ice is safe for snowmobiles.

The AWSC consists of over 600 snowmobile clubs from every county in Wisconsin. Community based, snowmobile clubs and their 40,000+ volunteer members are solely responsible for developing and maintaining over 24,000 miles of public snowmobile trails. Club members brush, clear, sign, and prepare the trails, along with grooming them to ensure they are smooth and safe. Annually, these volunteers work many hours in partnership with dozens of gracious landowners to ensure trail access, as most trails are on private property. Without the support of thousands of Wisconsin landowners, the trail system would not exist. Thus, riding on closed trails or traveling off a marked trail is not only dangerous – it’s trespassing.

Wisconsin’s snowmobile program is administered by the DNR. This user-funded program provides the funding that reimburses clubs for some of the expenses they incur. Funding come from snowmobile registration and trail pass fees, along with some gas tax monies snowmobilers generate.

The season is here, so make sure your snowmobile has a current registration and a 2018 Wisconsin Trail Pass. For more information on Registration and Trail Pass requirements, go to

Snowmobiling is not only fun, it contributes millions of dollars in economic impact to Wisconsin’s winter economy. For more information or to join a local club, go to the AWSC website at .

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