Snowmobile trails open again in county

For those not afraid of single-digit temperatures, the county’s snowmobile trails are open.

On Wednesday, several sources indicated the trails were open. All reminded riders that conditions are marginal.

The Chautauqua County Trail Conditions hotline told riders to be careful because high winds have knocked down tree limbs which could potentially be along the paths.

”Pay attention to your surrounds and watch your speed,” the recording said, which can be accessed by calling 800-242-4569, followed by pressing the No. 2 and then 5.

The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club has a telephone hotline and a website. The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club Sno-Phone, which can be reached by calling 753-2924, said trails are in poor condition because there is no base.

”We have received snow. It is a fluffy snow. It doesn’t pack so well,” the message said. ”Groomers have been out doing the best they can to get a base setup.”

The hotline also warned that groomers have broken down. The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club’s website, which can be viewed at www.chautauquasnow.com, stated a groomer is stuck on trail C-4 because of a broken track. Also, trail S-52 toward Busti is closed because of a lack of snow.

”Trails are open at this time with the area receiving over a foot of snow in most spots,” stated the club’s website.

‘Temperatures have been in the low teens for a couple days and freezing things up nicely. Winds have blown the fluffy white snow all over, which has made bare fields and is nearly impossible to groom well. There was also a windstorm in the area blowing debris over the trails, so please use caution. With the powder snow, conditions are poor to marginal at this time. Once things thaw a bit we might be able to get a better groom with another weather front coming through this weekend. Some trails are not groomed, and we still have some wet spots.”

Ellery Sno-Cruisers spokesperson Jamie Carlson posted on its website www.ellerysno-cruisers.com trails are open, but conditions are marginal because there is no base.

”Our snow cover is on the light side in areas so please use extreme caution. These are early season conditions,” Carlson said.

The Lake Effect Trailbreakers said all trails were open as of Wednesday morning on its website, www.trailbreakers.com.

”Please use caution on the east end of our club area (near Kennedy) we have reports that the snow may be thin in that area,” the Lake Effect Trailbreakers website stated. ”As always, communicate back to the club if any hazardous conditions exist.”

To access other Chautauqua County Snowmobile clubs websites, visit Cherry Creek Sno-Goers by going to www.cherrycreeksnogoers.com and for the Sunset Drifters, go to www.sunsetdrifters.net.

According to the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau’s website, the county has 450 miles of groomed trails which are maintained by members of the five county snowmobile clubs. These groups work with hundreds of private landowners and utilize 16 groomers to maintain trails. Along the trails, people can visit service stations for fuel, restaurants for a bite to eat and hotels for overnight accommodations. Contact one of the five clubs to purchase a countywide trail map.