Trail Conditions: Closed
Snow Cover: 9-10 Inches
Date of Report: December 21, 2022
Who would have thought we could get too much snow?! We never thought trails would have to close because of too much; however, here we are. Unfortunately, as a joint decision between the Sawyer County Snowmobile and ATV Alliance and Sawyer County Forestry, the Sawyer County trails remain closed due to safety. Please know this decision does not come lightly as all our volunteers are passionate riders that want to be out there riding and/or are business owners that know this sport is what drives our economy.
We continue to work to make the trails passable, safe, and open them as soon as we can, however, we are unsure of when that will be exactly. We are not sure if this will be before the New Year’s weekend, and hope to update mid next week, if not before, as we continue to do clean up. With the impending winter storm and forecasted high winds, the snow will either blow off the branches and lighten the weight or snap more off. That, combined with the below freezing temperatures, make it difficult to predict what will happen.
A few key notes.
- Most problematic is the excessive amounts of down trees, limbs, low hanging and heavy branches and unsafe lakes and wetlands. We cannot open some trails that may be ready when so many are not as you could be led to dead ends and sever obstacles, so safest thing is to close all until we know they are safe and passable.
- Crews are working through the trails cutting with saws and limb cutters, but many need to be cut high because 1. There could be a tree several feet off the trail and the weight is so great it’s bent that far into the trail (many large trees are bent that far, and they need to be approached with safety) and 2. it’s not just sleds that need to pass through but tractors and groomers.
- The Alliance has hired any contractors they can find to aide in cutting, if you are a contractor and are available for hire, please reach out to us.
- In addition to the debris and branches, the snow is deep, and movement is slow. You do the work moving forward and have to go back for machines trudging through the snow, it’s very strenuous and slow.
- Some small lakes have good ice however most of the other lakes do not have good ice yet, they are getting close, but the snow has insulated and slowed the process for the last bit. Not only did it slow but put slush and water on the top. We do not encourage lake riding as they are not staked, they are not safe and riding on this slush and soft snow before it freezes will only create ruts and will set our lakes for rough riding for the rest of the season.
- Swamps and wetlands are defiantly not ready. They are soft and not safe for walking on let alone putting a snowmobile on it and especially not a groomer over it.
- Private gates will not be open until trails through are safe from debris and if they run to lakes or wetlands, those are safe.
- We suspect signage to have been knocked down and/or buried in snow. As we clean-up we will monitor this and replace as quick as we can.
- Riding over the down debris is packing those branches into the trail causing them to freeze in that will 1. Break cleats and parts from groomers and 2. Remain there for the rest of the season as this will be our base, if you don’t want to complain about rough trails in 3 weeks, do not ride over this debris.
- If you want to volunteer and help with clean up that is amazing! BUT please reach out to the Alliance OR a local club if you’re a member. The trail and grooming captains need to ensure those out working have experience to ensure safety but also, they need to document where has been worked on, who has done the work, time into it, equipment needed and photos, which brings us to the next point.
- Unfortunately, while there is an excessive about of damage to the trails (all fixable) this does not currently qualify for disaster relief but rather trail maintenance. We will work with the Forestry Department later, when work is complete, on some grants in hopes to aid in the very additional funding this will require. Photos and documentation are needed for that step.
- If you would like to donate it would be greatly appreciated!! You can do so with your club, drop off at an Alliance business, or mail to the Sawyer County Alliance at PO Box 163 Hayward, WI 54843.
Thank you again for your understanding! We will continue to push forward, work hard, and get these trails open as soon as we can!