Forest Service urges rider awareness
VERMONT- With additional snow expected in the coming weeks, the US Forest Service is looking forward to a successful snowmobile season and wants to encourage all riders to put safety first. Green Mountain National Forest officials are recommending that snowmobilers exercise caution when operating on the National Forest, and all lands, in Vermont this winter.
GMNF officials remind snowmobile enthusiasts to heed to all gates and signs and to stay off roads and trails that are closed.
Due to heavy snow in November, forest service employees and several snowmobile clubs throughout Vermont have been working to clear trees and other debris from trails. Officials want to remind trail users to use extra caution early in the season as some trees may be weak due to snow accumulation and downed tree hazards are likely.
Weather permitting, snowmobile use is allowed on designated trails within the GMNF through Monday, April 15. The GMNF will continue to work closely with state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers to make sure that users of the trail system are respectful, responsible, law-abiding, and safe.
The GMNF and VAST cooperate to maintain more than 470 miles of National Forest System trails that are part of the larger statewide snowmobile network. VAST is one of a few snowmobile associations in the United States that has a cooperative partnership agreement with the US Forest Service.
The maximum speed is 35 mph on state and federal land and Vermont has a tough snowmobiling while intoxicated law that covers alcohol, as well as drugs.
The US Forest Service is also warning the public of the dangers associated with riding, hiking, and skiing on frozen water bodies. Trail users are encouraged to be mindful of fallen trees and other hazards they may encounter.
Operators must maintain control of their snowmobile while riding; keep to the right at all times; wear helmets; and stay on designated trails only. All snowmobiles must be legally registered, have liability insurance, and operators must purchase a VAST Trails Maintenance Assessment decal.
Officials also encourage winter trail users to pack a flashlight, cell phone, food, and extra warm clothing in case of an emergency.