Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 23, 2022

Dan Keefe (518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks Encourages Snowmobilers to Ride Safely as Season Opens

Please Follow Designated Trails, Avoid Frozen Bodies of Water

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is reminding snowmobilers to ride responsibly and put safety first as they enjoy the state's outstanding snowmobiling opportunities. Snowmobilers can monitor trail conditions on the NYSSA Snowmobile Map. 

The two leading causes of injury are excessive speed and operator intoxication.

Top safety recommendations include:

·         SLOW DOWN. Ride responsibly. Ride within your ability, ride to the right and always operate at a safe and prudent speed.

·         STAY ON MARKED TRAILS, respect landowners, obey posted signs.

·         NEVER drink alcohol or use drugs and ride.

·         Check over your snowmobile; make sure it is in good working order and carry emergency supplies.

·         Always wear a DOT approved helmet and make sure you wear the proper snowmobile gear including bibs, jackets, boots and gloves.

·         Always ride with a buddy or group and tell someone who is responsible where you will be riding and the expected return time.

·         Riding on ice that is not thick enough can lead to tragedy. Frozen bodies of water are not designated trails; if you choose to ride on ice, proceed with caution and be aware of potential hazards under the snow; wear a snowmobile suit with flotation built in and carry a set of ice picks as a precaution. 

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 found here: A safety certificate is required for youth between ages 10-and-18 if they want to operate solo on a state trail.

Statewide, snowmobile trails traditionally open after the close of the regular deer hunting season, which ended in early December in Northern New York and mid-December in Southern New York, and when trails are covered with three or more inches of snow or ice.

Snowmobile trails in State Parks and on Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) lands are now open, where snow conditions are appropriate. In State Parks and on DEC State Forests, snowmobiles can be used on designated snowmobile trails whenever the trail is completely covered with snow or ice. 

On private lands, trail networks are coordinated by local snowmobile clubs who determine trail open periods and closures based on snow conditions and landowner agreements and are not limited by hunting regulations. DEC and Parks remind everyone enjoying the outdoors to respect other users, and to "Share the Snow" this and every winter. Snowmobiling, hunting, and other winter pastimes like hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing are compatible activities that have safely co-occurred for decades.

Before heading out, riders are reminded to check trail conditions with local snowmobile clubs and to confirm that their local trails are open. Though there is no requirement for snowmobile trails to close during the Holiday Hunt period, Dec. 26, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2023, confirming trail openings is particularly important in the Southern Zone where hunting seasons are on-going during the last week of December. In addition to checking with local clubs, you can also check with your county Sheriff's department to see if your local trail is open.

To find a club, you can visit the New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA) website at Joining a snowmobile club helps support snowmobiling in New York State. Club members receive a discounted registration fee and help support the clubs who make up the backbone of the New York State snowmobile trail system.

New York has 10,500 miles of state-designated snowmobile trails. It is a premier destination for snowmobiling. Knowing the safety regulations and following them will help ensure riders and their families have a great time. 

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) oversees the development, maintenance, and oversight of a statewide snowmobile program, which features approximately 10,500 miles of state-designated snowmobile trails. For more information on snowmobiling in New York, visit: