Snowmobiling is a key factor in the Copper Country’s tourism industry so it’s important for the Department of Natural Resources to try and keep the trails as safe as possible for everyone’s enjoyment.
The DNR has been promoting their “Ride Right” campaign this winter, encouraging snowmobilers to ride on the right side of the trail, ride at a safe speed, ride sober, anticipate and yield to trail groomers, and to ride safe so you make it home to your family and friends.
There have been a half dozen fatalities already this year in Northern Michigan, but DNR UP Trails Coordinator Ron Yesney says that number is down considerably from years past. “Snowmobiling was at its peak in 2005, 2006 and ever since then we’ve been on kind of a decline since the recession, but in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, we were up to 40 fatalities a year,” said Yesney.
The DNR has been busy this season, stepping up patrols and writing tickets when necessary. The slow start to the winter in most areas has made the Keweenaw a very popular place for snowmobilers this year. “The tendency we do see in the Upper Peninsula is when there is not a lot of snow or there is not snow elsewhere, then you get a concentrated use pattern, the trail conditions get deteriorated, you got more people riding, people are coming further to ride so they’re fatigued, they’re tired, they’re trying to do more in less of a time period—and all those factors turn into bad decisions and ultimately, accidents,” Yesney said.
Yesney stressed that Michigan has one of the top five snowmobile trail systems in the world and that’s because of the great job done by those who maintain the trails, the private landowners who allow access to the trails on their property, and the many responsible snowmobile enthusiasts who enjoy our trails.
More information on the Ride Right campaign can be found at michigan.gov/snowmobiling
You can hear the entire interview with the DNR’s UP Trail Coordinator Ron Yesney and DNR District Law Supervisor Lt. Ryan Aho on this Sunday’s episode of Copper Country Today at 7:00amon 97.7 The Wolf, 8:00am on 99.3 The Lift, and 9:00am on KBear 102.3, or any time at http://www.keweenawreport.com/c-c-today/copper-country-today-february-3-2019/