Wis. DNR urges snowmobilers to operate safely as ice thins

WI DNR Shares Snowmobile Safety Tips
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 11:41 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reminding snowmobilers to operate safely as current warming trends thin ice across the state.

According to a media release from the DNR, certain areas can be unsafe as a result of the thinning ice.

“With these unusually mild temps and International Snowmobile Safety Week coming up Jan. 14-22, we urge snowmobilers to be extra careful when driving on ice,” Lt. Jake Holsclaw, DNR Off-highway Vehicle Administrator, said. “Remember that no ice is ever completely safe, and that even areas that seem thick and covered with snow may be hiding patches of black ice that could break apart under the weight of the machine and riders.”

The DNR provides these ice safety reminders in their media release:

  • Contact local sport shops to ask about ice conditions locally on the lake or river you want to cross.
  • Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or float coat should you fall through the ice and to help retain body heat.
  • Do not travel in unfamiliar areas.
  • Slow down when traveling at night.
  • Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have currents that can thin the ice.
  • Watch for pressure ridges or ice buckling. These can be dangerous due to thin ice and open water.

There were 16 fatal snowmobile crashes in 2022, according to the media release from the DNR. A summary can be found HERE.

Additional snowmobile information can be found on the DNR website HERE.