Snowmobile Season Wraps Up in the Upper Peninsula

It is the final weekend riders can get out on the trail for snowmobile season here in the upper peninsula. This was the first year the Michigan DNR started their ride right campaign. Encouraging snowmobilers to ride on the right side of the trail, ride sober, and ride safe. The Keweenaw snowmobile club, says that they saw many riders taking the campaign serious, but there are some things that the campaign can do to better educate inexperienced riders.

“I know the DNR is working on some revisions to the program. To not only ride right, but ride the right speed for your group. A lot of the accidents that have happened across the U.P. have been due to an inexperienced rider, trying to keep up with a more experienced leader of the group. I know overall the DNR sees it as a very positive impact campaign. And I would agree with that, based on what we have seen on the trail system this year. But they are going to tweak that a little bit.” – Ryan LaPorte, President, Keweenaw Snowmobile Club

Overall the season went well in the copper country, says Keweenaw snowmobile club President Ryan LaPorte. Though the fluctuations in weather this winter, certainly made grooming trails more difficult.

No different than in a car, or on your own two feet. Driving a big heavy groomer, with tracks on ice, is no safer. You’ve got the same concerns while you’re out there. So we’ve had some slid offs, especially in some our steeper sections of trail, or around tight corners. It’s also hard on equipment. They’re meant to go on snow, not on ice. So it’s resulted in some broken track cleats, and it is hard on it when we have those kind of weather events.” – Ryan LaPorte, President, Keweenaw Snowmobile Club

With the most recent snow prediction, the DNR did extend the snowmobile season through April 2nd. But the Keweenaw snowmobile club will shut down their operations with the traditional end of season tonight. That is because of trail easement agreements with some property owners.

“Most of those (agreements) with landowners do not go beyond the 31st of March. So we will not be leaving those gates open, we’ll head out tomorrow morning to close those. We really appreciate our landowners, and the use of their property to make the trail system happen. But we don’t have that ability yet. We as a board will look to extend those in the future. But not all of those property easements come up on an annual basis. So it’ll take a little bit to get those all extended.” – Ryan LaPorte, President, Keweenaw Snowmobile Club

Check with your local snowmobile club to find out if your area has extended the season through Sunday. As for the copper country, it was another great season in the books. Check out the Keweenaw snowmobile club’s facebook page and website for future trail maintenance ride alongs, and other snowmobile club events.