The truth is out there
Trail maintenance secrets to extended season
No, this is not about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), or the X-Files. It is as easy as looking out your window. Not to look to the sky, but to look to all the snow that is around us. It easy as comparing the condition of trails to determine that some clubs are doing something different.
The truth is simply that this is a great time to snowmobile. The truth is also that the snowmobile clubs that used a roller to compact the snow on the trails has more snow on the trails than those that cut the snow…which is what a groomer is intended to do.
The Snowmobile trails with private property easements are open till the end of March. The state owned trails that are considered ‘multi-use routes,’ are actually open year round. Yes, if we had snow in May, which we often have, you could legally ride your snowmobile in May.
However, that is only on the state owned multi-use routes, such as the abandoned rail grades. You can also snowmobile on the un-groomed state forest roads. You need to know where the state forests are. They are note commercial forest private property.
This column has written about the laws regarding off trail riding on commercial forest land for years, yet a minority of snowmobilers seem to think that this land is open to off-trail riding, without permission from the landowner.
In place of snowmobiling illegally in these areas, or snowmobiling legally off trail on state forest roads, you still have all the groomed trails to ride till the end of the month. You also have miles and miles of trails to ride on state owned multi-use routes.
You will notice how some of the trails, with the same amount of snow in the woods…are in better condition than others.
One reason is how some clubs used a huge roller to compact the snow during the start and middle of the season, while others used a drag with cutters and a pan.
The concept of rolling and compacting snow on trails is what they have been doing in the Rocky Mountains for decades. The roller system holds the snow on the trail much longer than the trails where they have been cutting the moguls and unintentionally moving snow off the trail.
Admittedly the clubs that compact the snow with the use of the roller are doing this with no reimbursement from the DNR Trail Maintenance Contract program. They are doing this with the club’s membership money.
Thus some clubs do not have the funds to purchase the roller. Plus there is always the complaining from some snowmobilers that think that every trail is to be as smooth as a pancake, 24 hours/day, and 8 days a week.
You probably know a snowmobiler that thinks like that. One wonders if they also complain if the highway they drive on has not been re-surfaced every year.
Our area snowmobile clubs do an excellent job maintaining all trails. However they have no control over the weather, equipment break-downs, or lack of volunteers to do the work. Some clubs are fortunate to have a roller and the funds to compress the snow, in place of cutting.
On our next Let’s Ride we’ll have the results of the MASTERS Racing Circuit Hillclimbers that are at the World Championship Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming. The qualifying runs started yesterday and today, with those that advance to the finals competing Saturday and Sunday.
For those that are looking for a good time to snowmobile, this coming week is a great time to snowmobile the Copper Country. The truth is out there…just look at the snow we still have.