Eau Claire Co. snowmobile trails now open

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Snowmobile trails are now open in Eau Claire County after volunteers spent dozens of hours grooming snow and putting up signs,

Preparing to open more than 180 miles of trails in the county took a lot of effort from volunteers and permission from landowners, but the Associated Snowmobile Club members said it’s worth it for riders.

Rich Lindner said he's been grooming snowmobile trails in Eau Claire County since their association started in the early '80s.

“When I get done grooming, I do go out snowmobiling,” Lindner said.

Rich and other members of the clubs like president, Jerry Vetterkind said what keeps them going is taking advantage of their own work and promoting the hobby to others.

“This is a full time job for me it seems like. It never quits. It's year round it seems like, but our club members keep us going and there's always somebody enthused about snowmobiling,” Vetterkind said.

“I just love getting out in the fresh air and being out there. There's some new trails this year I want to go down,” Lindner said.

Vetterkind said the conditions aren't perfect.

“Guys had to go out there and drill into the ground to get the stakes in, it's been a real struggle.” “Riding conditions are not like they're going to be later on in the season. It's a little rough.”

But Lindner said he's excited to ride, with a new trail open from Fairchild to the Chippewa County line.

“The wife and I go out and pick a restaurant someplace and go out and eat and take our snowmobiles there and that's the fun of it.” “Anybody that's snowmobiling, I hope they get out here and enjoy them.”

Club members reminded riders to stay on the trails to avoid damaging private land. Some trails in Jackson county are open now and all others in Jackson and Clark counties are scheduled to open Friday morning.

Eau Claire County's Parks & Forest Department urges riders to check with surrounding counties to see if their trails are open, and to respect landowners' property. The department also wants people to abide by state and county rules.

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