DNR cautions snowmobilers

MARQUETTE — Michigan Department of Natural Resources trail officials are advising snowmobilers riding in the Upper Peninsula to use extra caution because of hazards produced by significant weather-related events.

A historic ice storm hit extensive portions of the region Monday, affecting state-managed snowmobile trails. Numerous downed trees and low-overhanging branches should be expected on those trails.

“Trail maintenance crews are removing ice-covered trees and branches from the trails daily to the best of their ability,” Kay Countryman, a DNR Forest Resources Division contact in Ishpeming, said in a news release. “However, because of the high volume of downed debris and the continued falling of limbs and trees, complete trail clearing will take some time.”

Riders should expect to encounter icy trail conditions and fallen or hanging ice-covered branches throughout the weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon, all trails were passable and open.

However, a temporary reroute of Trail No. 418 in Alger County, east of AuTrain, is now in effect due to the heavy rain causing water to flow down the trail.

Rob Katona, DNR central U.P. trails specialist, said the reroute is expected to be in effect only for a couple of days until the trail section freezes and the groomer cleans up the rutting.

Snowmobilers are urged to ride with caution and expect to encounter changing trail conditions and trail maintenance workers clearing trails throughout the upcoming weekend.