Snowmobiling in Bolton Landing on Beautiful Lake George

medium_2290879341There are over 10,500 of miles of snowmobile trails in New York State, and over 260 Snowmobile Clubs and County Associations that help keep those trails groomed and safe. And snowmobiling is quite an industry – the total direct spending of snowmobile owners in New York was $434 million for the 2010-2011 season. Snowmobiling has remained popular and on the upswing despite economic conditions and gas pices. medium_6785129880The clubs and associations make up the NYSSA, New York State Snowmobiling Association, which is active in keeping snowmobiling a top winter sport in New York State. Over 90% of snowmobilers are members of a snowmobile club or the New York State Snowmobiling Association. Areas of our state have snow cover from December through March, depending upon location, and trails open at different times due to hunting season and other factors – you can always contact local clubs for the most up to date information. The statewide snowmobile trail system operates on a sled registration system – no pass is required, however both residents and nonresidents must register sleds  in order to ride in New York State. Registration is $100, or $45 for riders who join a New York State Snowmobile Association Member Club, and obtain a registration voucher. Anyone may join a New York club. You can register your sled at any Department of Motor Vehicles office throughout the state, renewals are usually processed by mail. The first $10 of the registration fee goes to processing, the rest of the fee goes to the Snowmobile Trail Fund, managed by law by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The money is distributed through grants to snowmobile clubs and towns to develop, construct and maintain snowmobile trails and to assist with the purchase of grooming equipment. About 15% is used for snowmobile law enforcement, safety education efforts and related expenses. Your registration allows you access to every mile of snowmobile trails, except for the Old Forge area, which has its own regulations and trail pass requirements. A free Corridor Map, showing the main and secondary corridor trails across New York State is available from the Snowmobile Unit at the OPRHP, Agency Building One, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY, 12238 (518) 474-0446. The Snowmobile Unit has its own cartographer – these maps are great, and in hot demand. You can also purchase detailed maps from local clubs and ride on the groomed and marked trail system where landowner permission has been obtained for everyone, snowmobile laws have been complied with, trails have been maintained, snow has been groomed, and signs are in place. You can ride without concerns of breaking the law, annoying landowners, making too much noise , damaging forest growth or disturbing Sunday services. It is up to you to be reasonable and prudent about your speed with current conditions, and to keep it under 55 MPH at all times.medium_5434582703 If you are going to cross borders into Vermont or Canada, you might want to check regulations. If you are going in to Canada, you will need the usual identification: photo ID, passport, proof of proper insurance and registration. Along with New York, Vermont has some spectacular trails! medium_396110840Snowmobiling is a family affair. Young snowmobilers, ages 14-17 may operate a snowmobile without adult supervision if they have completed a snowmobile safety training course recognized by the State of New York. Ages 10-13 need both the training course and an adult (18 years or older) within 500 feet of their sled. children under the age of 10, or those without a safety certificate, can only operate on lands owned or leased by a parent or guardian. Speaking of safety, you can expect to pay about $270 for snowmobile insurance per year – a bargain! Almost 30% of new York State snowmobile activity takes place in the Adirondack region, and the reports are that people are very satisfied with the safety of the trails, trail placement and signed identification of hazards. And seeing our public lands and parks in the glorious winter reminds us all of the importance of keeping our lands and parks safe and open to all. You can check for local clubs in this area, Warren county has four clubs. The South Warren Snowmobile club maintains nearly 100 miles of local trails that connect to Lake George, Lake Luzerne, Queensbury and Glens Falls. Many of these trails are groomed nightly during the season When the ice is 5 to 7 inches thick, you can snowmobile across Lake George and connect with other trail systems throughout the area. My mother once won a brand new snowmobile, suit and helmet for 50 cents on a Boy Scout raffle – she even let my father drive it on special occasions! Have you ever snowmobiled? What is your favorite area? Do you bring a picnic, or stay overnight in any of the snowmobile areas? Penelope Jewell medium_4226209788    ]]>