COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Snowmobile Trail Safety With Gary Marquis
As the snow continues to fall in the County, that means that snowmobile trails are getting closer to the ready mark for us to hit them. What's the safest way to do it?
No doubt, we've heard of people dying or almost dying every year on our snowmobile trails either here in the County or in the Pine Tree State itself.
There are safe ways to behave on the trails and there are not-so-safe ways to behave.
Our Community Spotlight caught up with Gary Marquis, Superintendent of Parks and Rec in Caribou to talk to us on how we can get along the trails and through the season safely.
Marquis says that a lot of the snowmobile clubs in the County were caught off guard this year due to early snow accumulation. Because of that, many of the tree limbs that might have been hanging into the snowmobile paths had not yet been removed.
Another big question people have is when are the clubs going to be out grooming?
"People need to realize that it doesn't happen overnight. There's a lot of obstacles right now so, if you do feel the need to go out and ride, please keep your sleds on the marked trails, if there are marked trails, and watch out for rock piles in potatoe fields."
With many people thinking that we have a lot of snow right now, Marquis says that we really don't have a lot of snow (where the trails are concerned), so folks need to be careful in the fields.
Marquis advises that there are other things to look out for, such as:
- Low Hanging Branches - These will creep up on you, they hit hard and they'll slap you in the head pretty quickly and you could lose control
- Lopping Sheers - Marquis recommends that if you would like to help the clubs out, to pack lopping sheers in order to remove any branches you might see hanging over and into the trails
- Flagging Tape - Marquis suggests that if you don't want to take lopping sheers, or if you don't have a pair, you could bring flagging tape along with you and mark any branches that you might see hindering a good, safe ride on the trail
- Call the Club - Once you mark a branch, or if you see a problem on the trail, figure out where it is, call the club so that they can send someone out to take care of the problem
Marquis says that if you think you're the only one on the trail, you're not. He had some advice for riders concerning courtesy and trail etiquette.
Snowmobile Courtesy and Etiquette
- Ride Right - Ensure that you're riding on the right side of the trail as you would on a regular roadway or street
- Don't Ride Too Close - Give yourself some room with the person in front of you. While on the trail, 'snow dust' can hamper your vision and if an accident occurs, you could be apart of it if you don't give yourself enough room
- Slow Down - Riding on an authorized, open field is one thing, but on the trail, slow down for turns and be mindful of other riders on the trail
- Don't Drink and Drive - Your life and the lives of others are dependent on sober trail riders for a safe return home
We hope for a fun and safe time on all of the snowmobile trails this season!