Snowmobile rider etiquette on trails and in cities

Published: Dec. 31, 2017 at 5:25 PM EST
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Since the middle of December, most of the U.P. has seen frigid temperatures and over a foot of snowfall. What it also has seen is snowmobile trails filling up with both locals and vacationers alike, taking advantage of that snow.

Trails are groomed by volunteers driving trail groomers weighing thousands of pounds and paid for by snowmobile registration fees and gas taxes.

Those groomers, knock down the bumps on a trail to provide a smoother and safer ride.

Trail groomer drivers, remind riders to keep a heads up for them on the trails, and offer some advice of what trail riders should look out for, to stay safe.

"The drags basically take up the whole width of the trail, when we get snowmobiles coming up from in front or behind it takes a minute for us to lift the wings for them to pass so we need them to give us time so they can safely pass," SORVA, the Snowmobile and O.R.V. Association of Alger County President Keith Churill said.

On top of keeping a heads up on the trails, and making sure your whole group rides safely, riders are reminded to pay particular attention to their surroundings inside city limits.

"In town trail etiquette is a big issue you know we need people to slow down and obey, when they come up to driveways, look, make sure there's no cross traffic coming, pay attention to stop signs," Churill said.

Churill said people taking off from, or riding near hotels should remember there's plenty of traffic that may need extra space.

"We've got big trucks with trailers pulling in and out and they're waiting to make a turn and snowmobiles aren't stopping at the driveways and it really creates a hazardous situation on these main roads," Churill said.

Snowmobile riders are reminded most trails in the U.P.'s network are a privilege, and riders are asked to treat them appropriately.

"You know," Churill said. "It's hard to keep a trail open in a town when, you know if it's not respected."

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