Department of Natural Resources
Feb. 7, 2019
Michigan Department of Natural Resources trail officials are advising snowmobilers riding in the Upper Peninsula to use extra caution because of hazards produced by significant weather-related events.
A historic ice storm hit extensive portions of the region Monday, affecting state-managed snowmobile trails. Numerous downed trees and low-overhanging branches should be expected on those trails.
“Trail maintenance crews are removing ice-covered trees and branches from the trails daily to the best of their ability,” said Kay Countryman, a DNR Forest Resources Division contact in Ishpeming. “However, because of the high volume of downed debris and the continued falling of limbs and trees, complete trail clearing will take some time.”
Riders should expect to encounter icy trail conditions and fallen or hanging ice-covered branches throughout the weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon, all trails were passable and open.
However, a temporary reroute of Trail No. 418 in Alger County, east of AuTrain, is now in effect due to the heavy rain causing water to flow down the trail.
Rob Katona, DNR central U.P. trails specialist, said the reroute is expected to be in effect only for a couple of days until the trail section freezes and the groomer cleans up the rutting.
More heavy weather is forecast for today.
“To complicate the situation, heavy wet snow and gusty winds are expected this afternoon through Friday morning across the same areas that received the heavy ice earlier in the week,” Katona said. “Trees already coated with ice, combined with heavy snow and strong winds, could produce additional fallen trees or branches and debris, along with more low-hanging branches.”
Snowmobilers are urged to ride with caution and expect to encounter changing trail conditions and trail maintenance workers clearing trails throughout the upcoming weekend.
Riders also are reminded to Ride Right by keeping on the right side of the trail, operating at a safe speed, driving sober and anticipating trail groomers.
“The ice storm produced some beautiful scenery to enjoy and there’s plenty of snow, with more on the way and a good number of riders on the trails,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “However, especially with these additional weather-related trail hazards riders may encounter, we want snowmobilers to use added caution, so everyone gets home safe to their loved ones.”
For more information on the Ride Right safety campaign, visit Michigan.gov/RideRight.
For information on the latest trail closures or re-openings visit Michigan.gov/DNRClosures.
For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, visit the DNR’s webpage at: Michigan.gov/Snowmobiling.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/DNR.
Accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested captions follow. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Map: A map showing the section of Trail No. 418 that is temporarily closed due to washout.
Riders: Snowmobilers enjoy a beautiful ride Wednesday afternoon through snow and ice-covered scenery along Trail No. 8 in Marquette County.
Trail: The water-covered section of Trail No. 418 is shown in Alger County, east of AuTrain.