web analytics

Tag Archive | "snowmobiling"

DNR reminds public of ice-safety measures

With warm and rainy weather patterns seen in recent weeks in many parts of the state, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges ice anglers and snowmobilers to remember that no ice is safe ice.

“When temperatures reach into the 40s, as they have recently in many areas, thawing will occur and that will definitely weaken ice,” said Sgt. Steve Orange, DNR Law Enforcement Division’s recreational safety, education and enforcement supervisor. “It’s very important to know and follow guidelines to determine how ice looks and feels so that your day of ice fishing or snowmobiling is enjoyable and safe. Ignoring warning signs of weakened ice can result in a life-threatening incident.”

The DNR does not recommend the standard “inch-thickness” guide used by many anglers and snowmobilers to determine ice safety, because ice seldom forms at a uniform rate.

Orange said a warm spell may take several days to weaken the ice; however, when temperatures vary widely, causing the ice to thaw during the day and refreeze at night, the result is a weak, “spongy” or honeycombed ice that is unsafe.

Ice strength can’t be determined by its look, thickness, the temperature or whether or not it’s covered with snow, Orange said.

When venturing onto ice, remember:

  • Clear ice that has a bluish tint is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, and is very porous and weak.
  • Ice covered by snow always should be presumed unsafe. Snow acts like an insulating blanket and slows the freezing process. Ice under the snow will be thinner and weaker. A snowfall also can warm up and melt existing ice.
  • If there is slush on the ice, stay off. Slush ice is only about half as strong as clear ice and indicates the ice is no longer freezing from the bottom.

Although it’s a personal decision, the DNR does not recommend ice anglers take a car or truck onto the ice,” Orange said.

Anyone venturing onto the ice is urged to wear a life jacket, wear bright colors, bring a cell phone and bring along a set of ice picks or ice claws, which can be found in most sporting goods stores.

If ice does break, Orange offered the following tips:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Don’t remove winter clothing. Heavy clothes won’t drag you down, but instead can trap air to provide warmth and flotation. This is especially true with a snowmobile suit.
  • Turn in the water toward the direction you came from; that is probably the strongest ice.
  • If you have them, dig the points of the picks into the ice and, while vigorously kicking your feet, pull yourself onto the surface by sliding forward on the ice.
  • Roll away from the area of weak ice. Rolling on the ice will distribute your weight to help avoid breaking through again.
  • Get to shelter, heat, warm dry clothing and warm, nonalcoholic and noncaffeinated drinks.
  • Call 911 and seek medical attention if you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering or have any other ill effects that may be symptoms of hypothermia (the life-threatening drop in the body’s core temperature).

Learn more about ice safety on the DNR website www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off on DNR reminds public of ice-safety measures

Celebrate the season with Winterfest 2011

These kids had fun playing at the Howard City Winterfest 2010 last January. Come on out and join them this year! Photo courtesy of Village of Howard City.

If you are looking for something to lift the mid-January blues, head out this weekend to Howard City’s second annual Winterfest, January 14 and 15.
“The community support has been great and our team is working to make the Winterfest even bigger and better than last year,” said Howard City Village Manager Mark Rambo. “We have a day filled with events for all ages, including games, food, music and snowmobiling.”
Added to the slate of activities this year are some adult team activities sure to be good for a few laughs. They include a four-person wooden ski race, tug of war, frozen chicken bowling, and bed races. Those interested can register a team of four on the day of the event.
Another new event is the chili cook off, sure to warm up participants and give them a tasty meal to boot.
Other activities include a polar plunge, snowman building contest, snowmobile ride to Cadillac and more! Visit howardcity.org for complete details.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Celebrate the season with Winterfest 2011

Increase snowmobiling fun with these cool tips

Secretary Land reminds operators to stay safe, obey the law

snowmobilersWith winter here, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land reminds snowmobilers that a safe riding season depends on proper training and abiding by state safety rules and regulations.
“With more than 6,000 miles of designated trails crisscrossing the Upper and Lower peninsulas, Michigan provides some of the best and most varied snowmobiling available,” Land said. “Safe riding involves more than just ensuring that your snowmobile is in good working order. Proper training and an understanding of the laws regarding this wonderful recreational activity are equally important in keeping you safe this winter.”
Safe snowmobiling includes the following:
*Don’t ride alone
*Keep headlights and tail lights on at all times
*Keep your snowmobile well maintained
*Wear appropriate clothing for the weather — always include a helmet, gloves and eye protection
*Always check the weather and leave a travel plan
*Avoid crossing frozen bodies of water when possible and never cross single file
*Be aware of fences, low-strung wire or depressions in the snow
*Do not ride on a street or highway
*Be cautious at intersections, stop and look carefully for traffic before proceeding
Land said that a snowmobile safety course is an excellent idea for all operators. Children ages 12-16 may operate a snowmobile if they have a valid snowmobile safety certificate with them or are under the direct supervision of an adult age 21 or older. Only those with a valid snowmobile certificate may legally drive across a street or highway.
Children younger than 12 must be under the direct supervision of an adult unless they are operating a snowmobile on property owned or controlled by a parent or legal guardian. They are not allowed to cross a highway or street.
Snowmobiles are registered by the Department of State. Operators must have the registration certificate with them when riding. The registration is the ownership document; snowmobiles are not titled. Registrations are issued for three years and should be renewed before Sept. 30 of the year shown on the registration decal. Decals are displayed on the forward half of the cowl above the foot well.
A snowmobile trail permit sticker is also required under Michigan law, with a few exceptions such as when riding solely on private property. Trail permits are issued for one year and are placed on the forward half of the snowmobile directly above or below the headlight. They are available from snowmobile dealers, Department of Natural Resources and Environment offices and retail license agents.
Snowmobile operators are reminded to never operate a snowmobile under the influence of drugs or alcohol or at speeds that are unreasonable for conditions. Residents whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked may not legally operate a snowmobile.
Snowmobiles may operate on the right-of-way of public highways under certain situations. Traveling single file is permitted with the flow of traffic on the extreme right of the right-of-way. Driving on the roadway or shoulder is restricted to crossing bridges or culverts.
There are a number of other regulations regarding the speed, time of day, place and circumstances in which snowmobiles may safely and legally operate. This information is available on the DNRE Web site and snowmobile owners are encouraged to review it before riding.
For more information about snowmobile safety training, regulations and trail permits, visit the DNRE Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnre.
Nearly 87,000 snowmobile renewal notices were mailed by the Department of State this year. There are more than 347,000 snowmobile registrations on file, including original, renewed and expired certificates.
Additional information about registering snowmobiles is on the department’s Web site at www.Michigan.gov/sos.

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off on Increase snowmobiling fun with these cool tips