Ice thinning in Wisconsin, snowmobile safety urged: DNR

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds snowmobilers to operate safely as ice thins across certain areas, a result of recent warming trends.

According to the DNR, there were 16 fatal snowmobile crashes in 2022. Thin ice masks extremely dangerous conditions for snowmobiles traveling over water.

International Snowmobile Safety Week is Jan. 14-22, the DNR said.

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The DNR has ice safety reminders to consider before snowmobiling:

  • Contact local sports shops to ask about ice conditions locally on the lake or river you want to cross
  • Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or float coat, should you fall through the ice to help retain body heat
  • Do not travel in unfamiliar areas
  • Slow down when traveling at night
  • Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have currents that can thin the ice
  • Watch for pressure ridges or ice buckling; these can be dangerous due to thin ice and open water

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Snowmobile safety classes, regulations, safety tips and how to register your snowmobile are available on the DNR's snowmobiling webpage.

Violations, including unsafe snowmobile operation, can be reported confidentially to the violation hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR – or 1-800-847-9367.