Snow-sled safety stressed | News

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Snow-sled safety stressed

NAPLES, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As Maine's snowmobile season gets off to a start, state game wardens are issuing a safety warning with an emphasis on lakes and waterways.

"If we get a little snowfall and get people out there, they may say, 'well it is January, it has got to be safe' and in fact it really isn't," said Major Gregory Sanborn, Chief Deputy of the Maine Game Wardens.

"[A body of water] may be safe ice at one end and it may be wide open water at the other and so you need to be aware of your entire surroundings," he added.  "Every year, we have a tragedy that occurs on an inlet or an outlet and we just want people to realize, that if they are going to snowmobile on Maine's lakes and ponds, be aware of inlets and outlets and know your surroundings." 

Wardens held a news conference on Tricky Pond in Naples on Tuesday to urge snowmobilers to also be aware of water-release warnings near dams.  Warden Service dive team members, along with an airboat, entered the icy water to drive home their message in hopes of avoiding injuries and fatalities associated with the sport.

"Over the years we have learned that the two most critical times for safety are the very beginning of the season and the very end," said Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association.  "In the very beginning, people are excited, they want to get out and try the new sled, and they tend to forget that connection between their brain and their thumb."

The Warden Service says snowmobiling contributes more than $300 million every year to Maine's economy. More than 94,000 people register their snowmobiles annually with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.













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