New sheriff talks snowmobile safety

MUNISING — Snowmobilers across the Upper Peninsula are enjoying almost a foot of fresh powder that fell Thursday night and into Friday morning in the Western U.P. and Alger County.

Both of those areas have seen serious snowmobile accidents in the last 48 hours. On Wednesday, a Charlevoix man was thrown 160 feet from his sled when he hit a hole on a trail in Burt Township.

A 14-year-old Illinois girl lost control of her snowmobile near Sidnaw in Duncan Township Thursday afternoon. She suffered injuries to her hip and leg.

New Alger County Sheriff Todd Brock says most snowmobile related accidents are caused by two major factors.

“It seems to be especially this week, between Christmas and New Years, we tend to get an influx of accidents this week,” said Brock. “I attribute a lot of that to speed alcohol. Slow down on the sleds. The trails are narrow, the sleds are fast. There’s a lot of people on the trails. Use common sense, pay attention to weather factors and your safety first.”

Earlier this week, the Department of Natural Resources cautioned snowmobilers to exercise caution when riding on the trails due to snow depths being limited in many places. The varying snow depths have made trail grooming very difficult.