For Immediate Release: November 26, 2018
Questions? Contact DNR Information Center by email or 888-646-6367.
Snowmobile trails still need more snow, cold temperatures
cold temperatures and several inches of snow in parts of the state have
many snowmobile enthusiasts excited to take their first ride of the
season, but most trails will need more snow before grooming can begin.
Most of the state’s snowmobile trails are not yet ready for riding,
according to the Department of Natural Resources.
snowmobile trails officially open Dec. 1 each year; and several
conditions must be met before trails are open, groomed and ready for
- The ground must be frozen. Where trails cross wetlands, 15 inches of ice is needed to support the weight of the trail groomers.
- Adequate snow cover, about 12 inches, must be on the ground to allow for trail packing and grooming.
must be cleared of fallen trees, signs put in place and gates opened.
Snowmobile club volunteers and DNR staff are currently working on these
the cold air is helping the ground freeze, we still need more snow and
thicker ice to access trail segments that cross wet areas for brush
clearing and other maintenance,” said Grand Rapids area supervisor Guy
Lunz. “Crews are out now removing brush from trails where they can, and
the pace will pick up as continued cold freezes the low-lying areas.”
Even after a chilly start to November, ice on most lakes is not safe for
travel. The DNR recommends a minimum of 5-7 inches of new clear ice for
the trails open, the DNR urges riders to use caution. Early season
trails may have trees or debris across them, unfrozen swamps and
flowages, rocks or ruts, or standing crops and closed gates. Also, road
ditches can have obstacles such as culverts, signposts and rocks.
snowmobilers wait for the arrival of cold temperatures, now is a good
time to make sure registrations are current, snowmobiles are in good
operating order, review safety training, and check local trail maps for
route changes or new trails.
for new snowmobiles must be purchased in person at any deputy registrar
of motor vehicles or at the DNR License Bureau in St. Paul. Renewals of
registrations and out-of-state trail stickers may be done in person, or
online at licenses.dnr.state.mn.us/.
has over 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails; more than 21,000
miles of them are maintained by local snowmobile club volunteers.
Snowmobile trail maintenance costs are partially funded through the
combined snowmobile registrations and trail sticker sales, and state gas
tax attributed to snowmobile use. Donations and volunteer work by trail
clubs make up the remainder of the costs and efforts to operate these
users are always encouraged to call in advance or research online to
get local conditions for the area they plan to ride. State trail
conditions are posted each Thursday on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/snow_depth/index.html.
to snowmobile trail information, state trail maps, regulations, safety
training, and more is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/snowmobiling.
trail conditions are often posted online by local tourism associations,
chambers of commerce and volunteer snowmobile clubs. To find the
nearest club, visit the Minnesota United Snowmobiler’s Association
website at mnsnowmobiler.org.