Peter Jensen

The Keweenau Research Center at Michigan Tech in Houghton this week is hosting the annual SAE(Society of Automotive Engineers) "Clean Snowmobile Challenge", a U.S. collegiate challenge each year for engineering departments to build a more environmentally friendly winter recreation vehicle.

Peter Jensen is a Sugar Camp resident who judges the competition. He says in the early 2000's, there was a legal effort to close access to the national parks by snowmobiles because of the emissions and noise and how it disrupted wildlife...

Northwoods Snowmobile Trails Close For Season

Mar 12, 2015
"Snowmobiling at Haliburton Forest". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia -

Snowmobile trails in Oneida and Vilas counties are closed as of Thursday afternoon.

John Bilogan, Director of the Oneida County Forestry Department says warm weather has melted most of the snow. 

"If you get into the woods, the trails probably would still be ridable.  But it gets to the point where intersections and areas that are exposed to direct sunlight, a lot of them are bare."

Bilogan says riding on bare ground can cause safety issues or damage to trails.

Manfred Werner

Eagle River snowmobile trails are in rough condition this week, thanks to mechanical issues with grooming equipment.

The Sno-Eagles Club says all three of its trail groomers are down for the count and being repaired.

Spokesperson Holly Tomlanovich says trails haven’t been groomed in several days and conditions have deteriorated. 

A Minocqua man has died in a town of Newbold snowmobile crash.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Department reports last Wednesday they investigated a snowmobile crash near Highway 70. The caller told the dispatcher the man was injured on the trail and his snowmobile was in the woods.

The operator of the snowmobile, 45 year old Jesse Wiesendanger of Minocqua, died Monday from injuries sustained in the crash. The Sheriff's Department says it appears alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Emily Bright


The frigid weather we've experienced lately is perfect for one group: those working hard to prepare the snowmobile track for the upcoming Vintage and World Championship races.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

After a few inches of fresh snowfall, Oneida County is opening snowmobile trails Tuesday at 5 pm. 

Oneida County Snowmobile Council President Steve Moran says there are some rough spots on the trails. 

“Well, we could use more snow.  Hopefully we’re gonna get the snow they’re predicting.  Mostly they’re white, there’s gonna be some wet spots, that’s the biggest concern we have.  Swamps are not frozen with all the warm weather we’ve had, and the insulating snow we had earlier in November.” 

A 22 year old Muskego man has died in a Forest county snowmobile crash.The Sheriff's Department reports the man was snowmobiling along the shoreline of Roberts Lake in the town of Freedom.Deputies were called about 1:30 a.m Saturday morning. When they arrived they found the man had crashed the snowmobile into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Forest County Medical Examiner.The investigation into the crash continues and the man's name will be released when all relatives are notified.

Snowmobile Trails Thin After Warm Weekend Temps

Dec 16, 2014

This weekend’s thaw was bad news for winter recreation trails. 

Snowmobile trails in Iron County closed Monday after being open since early December.  Forest Administrator Joe Vairus says a significant amount of snow melted during the thaw. 


“It was 45 degrees for a few days, so things really opened up. It looked like spring.  The swamps are open and the trails are bare in a lot of places so we’ve got to get things frozen again and get snow coverage on top of that.  So it will take several inches, a foot or two.”

Vilas County Snowmobile Trails Open Friday

Dec 10, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Snowmobile trails in Vilas County are set to open Friday afternoon at 4 pm.

Vilas County Recreation Administrator Dale Mayo says conditions are typical for early season, though some areas may be wet or rough.

“Earlier in the season we had the freezing and thawing and hunters in the woods – and the trails are rutted.  We did have plenty of snow, but we still have a few areas where you could encounter some rough spots.  So we’re just encouraging everybody to use caution.” 

Snowmobile Riders Wait for Trail Opener

Dec 2, 2014
Joe Ross

Snowmobilers are awaiting the opening of trail systems, which is still at least ten days away. 

Oneida County Forester John Bilagon says agreements with private landowners dictate the trails can’t open until after the muzzle-loader deer season. 

“Then of course we have to have adequate conditions to open the trail.  Typically that means both a combination of snow cover and frozen conditions.”  

Early snow that’s insulating some marshes could be a challenge for snowmobile clubs who want trails to open as soon as possible. 

Minnesota Historical

Two recently-signed laws are designed to help promote snowmobiling in the Northwoods and elsewhere.  One change will affect most riders.

Act 142 goes into effect in 2015. Snowmobile registration will cost $30 and will be extended to three years from the current two. A key provision of the law is ALL snowmobiles on public trails will be required to display a trail pass. But there is a way to pay less.

Wisconsin's publicly registered snowmobile total is approaching a quarter-million and Northwoods registrations have increased by 163 percent since 2002.

The state last week released data on the number of registrations in Wisconsin. Oneida and Vilas are among the top five counties registering snowmobiles.

The DNR's Cathy Burrow says this region has seen a large growth in snowmobile registrations...