Keweenaw Snowmobile Club to halt trail grooming operations as season comes to a close

The club will groom the trails a final time Friday evening before looking up gates on private properties on Saturday.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 7:47 PM EDT
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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - Friday marks the last day that snowmobilers can ride the trails in the Keweenaw.

The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club (KSC) will begin wrapping up its operations, making their last grooming runs Friday night and locking up gates on private properties Saturday.

According to KSC President Ryan Laporte, the season has gone well despite warmer weather.

“Even with the warm ups and some of the rain that we had in January and February, we’re still going to groom somewhere near that 23,000-mile mark,” said LaPorte. “A little below our typical average of 30,000 miles that we groom. So, a little less than normal, but you know, we’ve had a great run.”

The warmer weather has also affected businesses who are dependent on snowmobile traffic, such as Gino’s Restaurant in Hancock.

Staff there say it is a hotspot for snowmobiler dining, as it neighbors a high-traffic section of the trail.

“Usually, it’s pretty consistent,” said Gino’s Restaurant Bartender Andrew Hester. “It brings anywhere from 30 to 50 people on any given day, which, if you are familiar with the restaurant industry, could make our break your entire month. Having those people be in 15 to 20 a day this year was a little drastic.”

While the KSC will stop grooming on their trails, some state-owned trails are still available to ride. Other trails to the south of the Keweenaw are also open as the DNR is allowing clubs to extend service on their trails until April 2.

As for the club, it will get to work on its off-season workload.

According to LaPorte, the club puts more hours into this phase then the actual grooming season.

“We’ll transition into our summer trail maintenance that we’ll do in conjunction with the Keweenaw ATV Club,” added LaPorte. “That’s summer infrastructure, that’s culverts, bridge repairs, updating map boards that are out there to help with navigation of visitors. That all tries to happen by about mid-November at the very latest.”

The trails maintained by the KSC close Friday at 11:59 p.m.