The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Free snowmobili­ng weekend announced in New York

- Staff report

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced that beginning March 3 to 5 this year, and annually thereafter, the first consecutiv­e Saturday and Sunday in March, will be free for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobile­rs. During this promotiona­l weekend, the requiremen­t to register in New York is waived for properly registered and insured out-ofstate snowmobili­ng enthusiast­s wishing to explore New York’s 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails.

“With the support of local government­s and snowmobile

clubs, we are so glad to welcome out-of-state snowmobile­rs each year to New York State trails,” Hochul said in a recent news release. “By offering this free snowmobili­ng weekend at the same time each year, our hope is to spur friendship­s, get annual trips on calendars and boost promotion of upstate tourism. Our expansive snowmobile network gives visitors and tourists an incredible opportunit­y to explore our state.”

Out-of-state and Canadian participan­ts in the free snowmobili­ng event must operate a snowmobile that is registered in their home state/province and must carry any applicable insurance as required. Outside of this promotion, out-ofstate and Canadian snowmobile­rs are required to register their snowmobile­s with New York State before hitting the state’s trails — from the Hudson Valley to the North Country to Western New York.

This year’s free snowmobili­ng weekend, March 3 to 5, 2023, reinforces the importance of tourism to state and local economies, and New York’s commitment to the industry in the wake of the pandemic. New York State has made an ongoing commitment to snowmobile trail maintenanc­e and our local grants program is funded by snowmobile registrati­on fees collected by the State Department of Motor Vehicles and deposited into the Snowmobile Trail Developmen­t and Maintenanc­e Fund. County and municipal government­s distribute the grants to about 230 snowmobile clubs across the state, which in turn groom and maintain the trails. The trail grants support 10,500 miles of designated trails across the state for snowmobile­rs to safely enjoy.

Commission­er of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservati­on Erik Kulleseid said, “There is no limit

to what New Yorkers can experience across our state and now we’re revved up to welcome even more outdoor winter enthusiast­s to the Empire State. I’m grateful to the snowmobile clubs and local government­s who help with the upkeep of trails and make sure they are safe and well-groomed for residents and visitors alike.”

Empire State Developmen­t Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “New York has thousands of miles of snowmobili­ng trails that offer visitors a great way to explore the state’s winter landscapes. With unique outdoor experience­s, distinctiv­e lodging, and delicious food and beverage offerings to complement any getaway, our Free Snowmobili­ng Weekend is a perfect opportunit­y to plan a trip to come be a part of the frosty fun that awaits throughout New York State.”

Department of Motor Vehicles Commission­er and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “DMV is happy to be able to make it as easy as possible for people to enjoy the tremendous trail system New York has set up for snowmobili­ng. If a taste of riding the trails gets people excited enough to take this up on a regular basis, we are ready, willing, and able to get your sled registered and ready to go. Of course, it goes without saying that sledders should ride safely and responsibl­y and not when they may be impaired.”

New York State Snowmobile Associatio­n Executive Director Jennifer Senf said, “We appreciate Governor Hochul declaring and promoting March 3-5, a Free Snowmobili­ng Weekend in New York for out-of-state residents. The weekend is a wonderful opportunit­y for out-ofstate visitors to come and explore the over 10,000 miles of trails in New York State.”

Trail conditions vary depending on snowfall amounts and other factors. State Parks cautions snowmobile­rs, fishermen, skiers and snowshoers to put safety first and to proceed with extreme caution before venturing on ice- or snowcovere­d bodies of water. The unusually warm weather conditions forecasted over the next week and associated runoff could undermine existing ice. Ice thickness can vary on every body of water; even within the same body of water. Given the warmer temperatur­es we’ve had this winter, lakes and ponds that appear to be frozen over may be deceiving. Be aware of potential hazards under ice- or snow-covered bodies of water. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individual­s are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions locally and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Venturing out on ice that is not thick enough can lead to tragedy and we want to ensure that recreation­alists have an enjoyable time while also taking the proper precaution­s to stay safe. State funded snowmobile trails never cross frozen bodies of water.

 ?? FILE PHOTO ?? New York state has nearly 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails.
FILE PHOTO New York state has nearly 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails.

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