Its February! We finally Get Some Riding In! How do We Open Trails?

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Fellow Snowmobilers;

     We FINALLY got some snow and were able to open Dane Counties snowmobile trails for a period! The kids and I put on around 300 miles during this recent opening. Not only were the trails in real decent shape, it was fun to see all of our loyal business sponsors packed to the walls with customers!
It is just too bad the great snow conditions couldn’t hang on for our Easter Seals Blizzard Blast held this past Saturday at the Red Mouse. Even having to close the trails due to the weather, we still had a great time at the event! Thanks to all of the volunteers that put it on!
     I have had many ask me how the Dane County Council of Snowmobile Clubs goes about opening and closing our trailsMany factors take place in those decisions. The main reasons center around conditions, safety and land/landowner protection. 
     Here is the official answer…… 
     Dane County is divided into 5 separate regions. Each region has the ability to open or close their public snowmobile trail systems as a group. Each Dane County club provides an Executive Trail Committee delegate. That group meets twice a year; at the October and the March DCCSC meetings. They not only provide opening and closing decisions for their specific clubs, they also are responsible for compiling the necessary information for trail aids fund reimbursements.  Each region has a leader. It is up to those clubs and delegates to elect, replace or renew their region’s leader as they see fit. 
     When the weather forecast warrants, each club delegate communicates with their specific region leader on the decision to open or not.The region leaders then contact the DCCSC President with their decision. The DCCSC President then contacts the Dane County Parks Department with which regions want to open or stay closed. Darren or one of the assigned parks staff then posts that information on the County Parks Trail Hotline, 608-242-4576. Once posted, press releases are sent out, calls to county officials are made, and the fun begins. 
     The vote by the clubs and their delegates to open each region must be unanimous. In other words, one club’s vote not to open, or to close trails shuts down that specific region. Closing of the trail systems work in the same way. When the clubs decide to close, the region leaders are contacted, they contact the DCCSC President, County Parks is contacted, the Hotline is posted and the trails are then closed. 
The bottom line is that each club has the empowerment in this system because they are the ones responsible for the trails and the landowners they provide to all snowmobilers.
It is important that all wanting to ride check by calling the hotline to verify before riding. Fines can get steep if caught riding while the system is closed. Ridng while the trails are closed and riding off trail are the biggest reasons we lose the privilege (oh, did I say PRIVILDGE?) to ride. 
I hope this helps!
Thanks to all!

Sam Landes

Executive Director-Dane County 

AWSC Legislative Committee Chair

SRC Law Enforcement Committee Chair

Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs 

7353 Springhelt Drive

Dane, WI 53529


608-513-3591 cell