Recent Storms Leave Snowmobile Trails in Poor Condition
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Wis. — The heavy snow and strong winds brought on by December’s winter storms caused downed trees, several power outages, and horrid driving conditions. Another group dealing with Mother Nature’s wrath is snowmobilers, where one club in Douglas County has already spent hundreds of hours cleaning up the trails after the recent storms.
“In the last 10 years that I’ve been involved with this, this is the worst winter we have ever seen for an opening. With everything being cleared off the trails and ready for winter, it’s the trees that are twenty feet off the trails and the tops are now in the trails causing such chaos for everybody,” said Northwest Trails vice president Dustin Androski.
There are 352 miles of funded trails in Douglas County alone which is just a fraction of winter trails across the Northland. Northeastern Minnesota saw hurricane force wind gusts causing thousands of trees to fall, closing several trails for cleanup and leaving others in poor condition. As temperatures warm up and people are eager to get outside and enjoy all the snow, it is important to always stay on the trails regardless of their condition.
“That’s going to be our big issue this year, is people are trying to find new ways to ride even though the trails are not open yet – some of them aren’t open yet – and if you’re not staying on the trail, 90% of the time you’re trespassing on somebody else’s property, and it’s gonna get things shut down for us that are trying to keep these trails going and open,” said Androski.
If you are anxious to get out and ride, there are several clubs in Wisconsin and Minnesota who work on cleaning up the trails looking for help.
“Anybody who rides a snowmobile or uses the winter trails, we’d love to see you get involved, contact some of your local clubs that are in Douglas County and see what you can do to lend a hand. I think almost every club is out daily trying to get trails open at this point,” said Androski.
Northwest Trails hopes to have all the trails in Douglas County fully open by the weekend of January 6th. If you are looking for open trails in Minnesota, you can find the detailed list of trail conditions on the Minnesota DNR’s website.