Snowmobile riders urged to use extreme caution

Snowmobile riders urged to use extreme caution
Game, Fish and Parks officials are asking snowmobile riders in eastern South Dakota to use extreme caution when riding on road rights-of-way due to downed power lines from the snow and recent ice storm.

Riders really need to be aware of areas affected by the storm. There are still many areas in eastern South Dakota with power lines down which can pose serious safety issues for anyone using these rights-of-way. Utility crews are working in the rights-of-way and riders are advised to avoid these areas. Riders need to respect the crews' efforts and give them plenty of space to do their jobs.

"There is a lot of excitement among snowmobilers with this early snowfall," said Scott Carbonneau, trails coordinator for the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, "but it is important that riders slow down, look ahead and are cognizant of their surroundings."

The trails in eastern South Dakota are groomed and maintained by local snowmobile clubs through an agreement with the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Several of the snowmobile trails in eastern South Dakota will not be groomed until all debris has been removed from the right-of-ways.

South Dakota has 1,572 miles of snowmobile trails across the state. While a bulk of trails in Eastern South Dakota opened Dec. 1, the Black Hills trail system does not open until Dec. 15 due to lease agreements with the Forest Service and several private landowners.

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