The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County gets jump on opening snowmobile trails


December 8, 2018


While Iron County opened its snowmobile trails this week, other Wisconsin counties will wait until Dec. 15 to do so.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials said lack of snow and trail easements beginning on Dec. 15 are factors in the counties’ plans.

While Iron County has received nearly 50 inches of snow and there’s about a foot on the ground, snowmobilers weren’t exactly flocking to Hurley yet on Friday, as the trail news hadn’t spread downstate.

About 80 miles of trails were opened initially, but not all of the county’s trails were open.

Snowmobile trail openings depend on snow depths and are determined by individual counties and the snowmobile clubs that maintain trails. Using trails before they are officially opened is trespassing.

The DNR said areas of central Wisconsin picked up only a couple inches to 4 or more inches of snow last weekend.

Swamps are slowly freezing and lake ice is getting thicker. Reports range from open water to 6 inches in central and northern Wisconsin, as more and more anglers are venturing out.

Anglers are advised, as always, to check ice conditions before venturing out.

In the western Upper Peninsula, snowmobile trails were being groomed by the Gogebic Area Groomers at mid-week, but snowmobilers were advised to wait at least one more weekend before trying them out.

Snow depths ranged from 4 to 10 inches, but some areas remained to be packed and groomed. Some of the wet areas had not yet frozen.

No riding was recommended on Lake Gogebic.

The Gogebic Area Groomers have a new barn in Marenisco that is housing a groomer and drag for the south end of the lake.

The Gogebic Range Trail Authority on Friday said the Bessemer-Wakefield area seemed to have the most snow and trails were better than expected.

Taking Trail 8 to Bergland, the snow level increased. 

“We hope to get our drags hooked up and grooming again tonight. Overall, trail conditions are just better than we thought, but remind you they are melting from the bottom up. Lots of water in the ground from a tremendously wet summer and fall continue to haunt us by chewing up the snow we pack in,” the GRTA report said.

The club advised slow riding to maintain trail integrity.


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