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Snowmobilers reminded to think safety as snow arrives

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship is reminding Manitobans to put safety first when enjoying the new winter recreation season.

Snow cover can be deceiving and sometimes hides open water. The insulating property of snow paired with the milder temperatures can prevent the ground and/or water from freezing.

Many factors affect ice thickness including the type of water, location, time of year and other environmental factors such as fluctuations in water levels, water depth, air temperature and the size of the body of water. Ice may take several weeks or more to thicken, depending on weather conditions.

Snowmobile and cross-country ski trails are being prepared in parks around the province as conditions allow. There is little to no ice on water crossings in most provincial parks. Manitobans should check the websites below before venturing out the trails and remember to stick to the designated trails.

Click here for information on snowmobile trails in parks.

Click here for information on cross-country ski trail information.

Snopasses are available at Manitoba Public Insurance agents across the province. Snowmobilers can register their machines and buy a Snopass at the same time they visit any Autopac agent.

An annual pass is $125 (including GST) and includes a sticker that must be visible on the licence plate of the snowmobile. A seven day Snopass is also available at a cost of $60.50. Revenues raised from the sale of Snopasses go directly to Snowmobilers of Manitoba Inc. (Snoman) and are used to groom trails and enhance recreational snowmobiling. The fine for driving on a designated trail without a Snopass is $474.15.

Manitoba has approximately 12,000 kilometres of groomed trails on Crown and private lands that are maintained by Snoman to ensure members of the public have a safe ride. Weekly updates on trail conditions are available on Snoman’s website at www.snoman.mb.ca.

Trails located in provincial parks have speed limit and warning signs posted along hills and curves. Prudent driving combined with the proper equipment and well-maintained snow machines will mean an enjoyable, safe riding experience. There will be an increased presence of provincial natural resource officers and the RCMP travelling the trails to ensure compliance with all legislation and safe riding practices. It is an offence to drink and drive when operating a snowmobile.

In addition to trails maintained by Snoman, the province grooms about 1,100 kilometres of trails within the Whiteshell, Birds Hill, Grand Beach, Hecla and Spruce Woods provincial parks. Local clubs groom trails in Turtle Mountain, Duck Mountain, Clearwater, Paint Lake and Nopiming provincial parks. Riders using the groomed trail network within these parks are required to purchase and possess a valid Snopass.

More information is available at www.snoman.mb.ca.

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