Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 21, 2010

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

With the Official Start of Winter, Snowmobilers Reminded to Avoid Drinking While Sledding

Alcohol a factor in over a third of snowmobile fatalities

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation officials reminded snowmobilers to exercise caution and refrain from drinking alcohol before and during their ride as they enjoy the state's abundant snowmobiling opportunities. The state snowmobile trail system is expected to open over the next few weeks as conditions warrant.

"Our 10,500 miles of state-designated snowmobile trails make New York State an unmatched destination for snowmobiling," State Parks Acting Commissioner Andy Beers said. "The best way to enjoy this incredible network is to do so safely. Travel at a speed that is appropriate for trail conditions and avoid drinking any alcohol whatsoever until the snowmobile is parked for the day. Zero alcohol is the only choice to make snowmobiling safer."

"In cooperation with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state, State Park Police will be vigorously enforcing speed limits, operating while intoxicated laws and snowmobile registration requirements," said State Park Police Chief Richard O'Donnell. "We will make every effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable recreational snowmobile season for riders, the landowners who host the trail system and motorists who encounter snowmobiles at road crossings and trailheads."

 Riders can help avoid accidents by:

  • Taking a snowmobile safety course. Information on snowmobile safety courses is available at or by calling (518) 474-0446.
  • Avoiding all alcohol before and during a ride. Alcohol was a factor in over a third of the state's snowmobile fatalities last season.
  • Operating at a speed that's safe for conditions. Riding at unsafe speeds was the primary cause of 41 percent of the state's snowmobile accidents last season.
  • Staying on trails, checking on trail conditions with local snowmobile clubs and paying attention to weather forecasts.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit