Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

January 11, 2019

Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

State Parks and DEC Remind Snowmobilers to Ride Safely this Season

Heavy snowfall expected to bring snowmobilers out this weekend

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) remind snowmobilers to ride responsibly while enjoying the state's abundant snowmobiling opportunities.

"Recent snowfall has created good conditions for snowmobiling in parts of the state. The best way to enjoy New York's incredible network of trails is to make safety a top priority for yourself and others out on the trail," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "Knowing and following safety recommendations will help ensure that you and your friends and family will have a great time on the trail."

"New York State has some of the most spectacular snowmobiling experiences in the nation. With winter upon us and recent warm temperatures, I'd like to remind New York's snowmobiling community to ride safely and be mindful that lakes and ponds that appear to be frozen over can be deceiving. Venturing out on ice that is not thick enough can lead to tragedy and we want to ensure that snowmobilers have an enjoyable time while also taking proper precautions to stay safe," said Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Everyone operating a snowmobile should be familiar with safe riding practices and all applicable laws, rules and regulations. The best way to learn is by taking a snowmobile safety course. To find a course, visit Before deciding to head out, riders are also reminded to check trail conditions with local snowmobile clubs. To find a club, visit the New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA) website at

Top safety recommendations include:

  • Check over your snowmobile; make sure it is in good working order and carry emergency supplies.
  • Always wear a helmet and make sure you wear the proper snowmobile-riding gear including bibs, jackets, boots and gloves.
  • Always ride with a buddy or at least one other person.
  • Ride responsibly. Ride within your ability, ride to the right and operate at a safe and prudent speed at all times. Respect landowners, obey posted signs and stay on the marked trail.
  • Frozen bodies of water are not designated trails; if you plan to ride on ice, proceed with caution and be aware of potential hazards under the snow as well as ice thickness.
  • Four inches of ice is usually safe for accessing ice on foot. Double that thickness for traveling on white ice. Ice thickness can vary on every body of water or even within the same body of water. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be considered evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done with an auger or ice spud at various spots.
  • Never drink alcohol or use drugs and ride.

To promote snowmobiling in New York, Governor Cuomo designated the weekend of January 25-27 as a free snowmobiling weekend for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers. During this promotional weekend, the requirement to register in New York is waived for properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts wishing to explore New York's 10,400 miles of snowmobile trails.

Participants in free snowmobiling weekend must operate a snowmobile that is validly registered in their home state/Canadian province and must carry any applicable insurance as required by their home state/province. Non-New Yorkers who wish to use a snowmobile in New York State before or after this promotional weekend can use the NYS Registration for Out-of-State Snowmobile service to get a 15-day registration and operate their snowmobile here immediately. DMV will send a permanent registration in the mail.

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) oversees the development, maintenance and oversight of a statewide snowmobile program, which features approximately 10,400 miles of state-designated snowmobile trails. For more information on snowmobiling in New York, visit