Tread Lightly!’s Tips for Responsible Snowmobiling
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Travel responsibly on designated roads, trails and areas.
- Travel only in areas open to snowmobiling.
- Avoid trails with inadequate snow cover.
- When climbing a hill, approach the summit with caution.
- Do not ride off cornices.
- Avoid riding on frozen waterways and lakes.
- When approaching a corner, reduce your speed to avoid sliding.
- Lean into turns with your upper body to enhance the sled’s maneuverability.
- Cross roadways at a 90-degree angle.
- Pump your brake when going downhill to avoid locking the brakes.
- Be aware of unmarked hazards or obstacles hidden beneath the snow.
- Travel at reasonable speeds.
- When riding at night, use extra caution. Wear reflective clothing at night and reduce your speed.
- Do not accommodate extra riders over the delineated limit.
- Comply with signs and respect barriers. Buddy up with two or three riders, reducing your vulnerability if you have an accident or breakdown.
- Avoid riding in potential avalanche areas. Use terrain to your advantage, avoiding steep slopes, cornices and gullies or depressions. Periodically check for clues to an unstable snowpack. Remember, one rider at a time on slopes.
- Listening to headphones or ear buds can make it difficult to hear and communicate with other recreationists. In some areas it is illegal to operate snowmobiles with both ears covered.
- Don’t mix riding with alcohol or drugs.
RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS
Respect the rights of others, including private property owners, all recreational trail users, campers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.
- Be considerate of others on the trail.
- Ride single file, keep to the right and pass on the left only when the trail is clear.
- When stopping on the trail, pull your sled as far right and off the trail as possible.
- Yield the right-of-way to skiers, snowshoers and those passing or traveling uphill.
- Use common snowmobiling signals to communicate with your group and other riders.
- If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).
Educate yourself prior to a trip by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes and knowing how to operate your equipment safely.
- Obtain a map (motor vehicle use map where appropriate) of your destination and determine which areas are open to snowmobiles.
- Make a realistic plan and stick to it. Always tell someone of your travel plans.
- Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.
- Always check the weather forecast and avalanche conditions.
- Understand how to operate your vehicle and its controls.
- Prepare for the unexpected by packing a small backpack full of emergency items.
- Wear a helmet, eye protection and other safety gear.
- Layer clothing and wear a durable waterproof outer shell and footwear.
- If you suffer a breakdown, stay with your sled and stay on the trail.
- Make sure your snowmobile is mechanically up to the task.
- Be prepared with tools, supplies and a spill kit for trailside repairs.
- Take a snowmobile safety course.
- Take an avalanche class. They provide skills on assessing snow conditions, performing rescues and using safety equipment.
- Wear an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe on your body at all times in avalanche terrain.
- If a person develops hypothermia, warm the person up by rubbing them vigorously and getting them into dry clothes. Give them warm non-alcoholic liquids.
AVOID SENSITIVE AREAS
Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated routes.
- Low snow, don’t go. A snowmobile’s spinning tracks damage plants and soils just below the snow’s surface. Hill climbing in these conditions is especially damaging.
- Do not disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites.
- Be respectful of wildlife’s wintering habitats.
- Avoid “spooking” livestock and wildlife and keep your distance.
- Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in designated Wilderness Areas.
DO YOUR PART
Do your part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species, and restoring degraded areas.
- Carry a trash bag on your snowmobile and pick up litter left by others.
- Pack out what you pack in. Dispose of all sanitary waste properly by packing it out or bury it 6 to 8 inches deep in soil.
- To minimize harmful emissions, keep your engine in tune.
- Prevent unnecessary noise created by a poorly tuned vehicle or revving your engine. Use proper silencers on exhausts, which meet regulatory decibel levels.
- Build a trail community. Get to know other types of recreationists that share your favorite trail.
Educate Yourself and take an Online Snowmobile Safety Course.
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Click here for more tips on all kinds of recreation, including snowmobiling, camping and hiking.
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