Snowmobilers: Know Before You Go

Although much of Wisconsin has experienced colder temperatures and accumulating snow the past two weeks, the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) wants to remind snowmobilers many – if not most - snowmobile trails in Wisconsin are not open yet.

Before a trail can be opened, the ground under the snow needs to be frozen to ensure trails crossing wet areas are safe. In agricultural areas, adequate snow is necessary to protect the ground and crops the trail travels over. To ensure you know which trails are open in your community, go to at or for the latest information on the county/area you’re interested in riding.

After trails are opened, be aware as early season riding conditions magnify possible hazards under the snow. Snowmobilers should always ride with caution and NEVER ride on trails crossing lakes or rivers that are not marked by the local snowmobile club.

The AWSC consists of over 610 snowmobile clubs from every county in Wisconsin. Community based, snowmobile clubs and their 41,000+ volunteer members are solely responsible for developing and maintaining over 24,000 miles of public snowmobile trails. Club members brush, clear, sign, and prepare the trails, along with grooming them to ensure they are smooth and safe. Annually, these volunteers work many hours in partnership with dozens of gracious landowners to ensure trail access, as most trails are on private property. Without the support of thousands of Wisconsin landowners, the trail system would not exist. Thus, riding on closed trails or traveling off a marked trail is not only dangerous – it’s trespassing.

Wisconsin’s snowmobile program is administered by the DNR, but unique in that it is a user-funded program. In short, Snowmobilers provide the funds – through sled registrations and trail pass fees - to create, maintain, and sustain the largest public trail system in the nation. Additional funds for the snowmobile program come from gas tax monies snowmobilers generate. These user-generated funds help reimburse local clubs for some of the expenses they incur.

The season is here, so make sure your snowmobile has a current registration and a 2018-2019 Wisconsin Trail Pass. For more information on Registration and Trail Pass requirements, go to:

Snowmobiling is not only fun, it provides millions of dollars that fuel Wisconsin’s winter economic engine. For more information; or, if you’d like to join a local club, go to the AWSC website at:

Contact: Don Hamilton, AWSC Coordinator