Minnesota DNR says snowmobile trails aren’t groomed yet

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 4:12 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - While recent snow may have snowmobilers excited to take their first ride of the season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says most of the state’s trails are not yet ready to ride.

The DNR says riders should expect uneven conditions and check local trail reports before venturing out. Several conditions must be met before trails can be groomed:

  • 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.
  • Trails must be cleared of fallen trees, signs have to be put in place and gates need to be opened. Snowmobile club volunteers and DNR staff are currently working on these tasks.

“It’s a big job for local volunteers and DNR staff to get the trail system up and running each year, especially with varying weather conditions,” said Paul Purman, state trails and snowmobile program consultant. “Unseasonable thunderstorms last week eroded the snowpack in many areas of the state, setting back our trail preparations.”

Purman says the 23,000-mile system needs two things now: more snow on the ground, and more volunteers stepping up to help volunteer clubs get the trails ready and maintained.

While snowmobilers wait for grooming to start, now is a good time to make sure registrations are current, confirm that snowmobiles are in good operating order, review safety training, and check local trail maps for route changes or new trails.

Local trail conditions are often posted online by local tourism associations, chambers of commerce and volunteer snowmobile clubs. Contacts for DNR-funded, locally managed trails can be found at the DNR website. That’s also where you can find state park and trail conditions.

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