A legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
The snow is finally here. Measurable amounts piled in Jefferson, Oswego and Onondaga counties recently.
While some brows furrow at the sight of snow, others who love winter sports like ice fishing, snowmobiling, sledding, ice skating and skiing are eager to get out and enjoy the winter weather. I am among those who enjoy our four seasons and I like to ski, snowmobile and ice fish when I have the time.
Snowmobiling has become a sought-after pastime for many.
Many travel from outside of our region and out of state to enjoy the more than 10,000 miles of trails our state has to offer.
There are now more than 230 snowmobile clubs across the state with approximately 69,000 members—14% of which are from out of state.
A recent economic impact study found that snowmobiling contributes more than $868 million to the state’s economy as snowmobilers need lodging, fuel, and food along the trails.
It’s a great way to see the rural landscapes, small creeks, river views and some waterfalls too in the winter months.
Many local people work hard and take pride in offering trails that are well marked, well groomed and made as safe as possible for icy and cold travels.
There are 10 registered snowmobile trails in Onondaga County, 9 in Oswego County and 2 in Jefferson County.
The New York State Snowmobile Association has an interactive map which shows all of the public trails in the state.
Organizers work to connect the trails so people can travel from one trail to another.
The map of trails can be viewed at http://jimapco.com/maproom/snowmobile/nys/
There are even links to detailed snowfall and snow depth information at http://www.nysnowmobiler.com/home.
The I Love NY tourism site promotes snowmobiling and touts the state’s extensive network of trails.
From the Catskills to Lake Erie, Speculator to Tug Hill, Fingerlakes to Chautauqua—the trails and clubs can be found in most Upstate communities.
According to the New York State Snowmobile Association, snowmobilers can register at any Department of Motor Vehicle Office throughout the state.
Snowmobilers pay either to join a club, which costs $45, or register to ride with the state, which costs $100.
The Department of Motor Vehicles retains $10 for processing fees.
The rest of the fee, $90 or $35, goes to the Snowmobile Trail Fund, managed by law by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, where it is distributed through grants to snowmobile clubs, towns, etc. to develop, construct and maintain snowmobile trails and assist with the purchase of grooming equipment.
A small portion is used for snowmobile law enforcement, safety education efforts, and related administrative expenses.
Registration allows access to almost all of the trails, the only exception of which is the Old Forge area.
A separate trail pass much be purchased for this area because it has elected not to receive any funding from the state trail fund.
If you’ve never tried snowmobiling, there’s an event coming up at Selkirk Shores State park designed to introduce new riders to the sport.
The Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club and the New York State Snowmobile Association will host Take a Friend Snowmobiling on Jan. 31 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The public is invited.
Lunch is free and will be provided in the enclosed pavilion by club chefs.
There will be a groomer on display.
The park address is 7101 State Route 3, Pulaski, NY 13142.
To register or for more information, call 315-430-1754.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other state issue, please contact me.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.