A local county land manager contacted CORBA yesterday with reports of encounters between fat-bikes and snowmobilers on snowmobile trails. Since the land managers CORBA partners with have been so awesome to work with, we thought we’d do them a favor by passing along some information regarding snowmobile trails.
The vast majority of snowmobile trails in the counties of Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls are on private land. Private landowners sign an agreement that allow the counties and snowmobile associations to maintain the trails and gives approval to snowmobile traffic only (in Eau Claire County, that is, though other counties have similar language). Without getting too deep into things, the bottom line is that the Counties are asking us to learn and follow the rules and respect these other outdoor enthusiasts. Seems simple enough. (By the way, snowmobile clubs provide funding for the trails they ride and help maintain them through volunteer efforts. Sound familiar?)
There are some exceptions. The section of the Chippewa River Trail west of Eau Claire, for instance, is used for snowmobiling in the winter and is also designated multi-use. You can ride your fatty there. If you want to ride snowmobile trails, educate yourself first. If you’re not 100% sure that your bike is allowed on a particular trail, better to err on the side of caution and ride elsewhere.
Of course, you can also choose to ride some of the incredible singletrack at Lowes, Northwest Park, Hickory Ridge, Otter Creek and Area 178 (just stay off the groomed ski trails). In any case, please be respectful of local regulations and remember the Golden Rule.