Governor Hochul Announces Annual Free Snowmobiling Weekend
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that beginning March 3 to 5 this year, and annually thereafter, the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in March, will be free for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers. During this promotional weekend, the requirement to register in New York is waived for properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts wishing to explore New York’s 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails.
“With the support of local governments and snowmobile clubs, we are so glad to welcome out-of-state snowmobilers each year to New York State trails,” Governor Hochul said. “By offering this free snowmobiling weekend at the same time each year, our hope is to spur friendships, get annual trips on calendars and boost promotion of upstate tourism. Our expansive snowmobile network gives visitors and tourists an incredible opportunity to explore our state.”
Out-of-state and Canadian participants in the free snowmobiling event must operate a snowmobile that is registered in their home state/Province and must carry any applicable insurance as required. Outside of this promotion, out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers are required to register their snowmobiles with New York State before hitting the state’s trails – from the Hudson Valley to the North Country to Western New York.
This year’s free snowmobiling weekend, March 3 to 5, 2023, reinforces the importance of tourism to state and local economies, and New York’s commitment to the industry in the wake of the pandemic. New York State has made an ongoing commitment to snowmobile trail maintenance and our local grants program is funded by snowmobile registration fees collected by the State Department of Motor Vehicles and deposited into the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. County and municipal governments distribute the grants to about 230 snowmobile clubs across the state, which in turn groom and maintain the trails. The trail grants support 10,500 miles of designated trails across the state for snowmobilers to safely enjoy.
Trail conditions vary depending on snowfall amounts and other factors. State Parks cautions snowmobilers, fishermen, skiers and snowshoers to put safety first and to proceed with extreme caution before venturing on ice- or snow-covered bodies of water. The unusually warm weather conditions forecasted over the next week and associated runoff could undermine existing ice. Ice thickness can vary on every body of water; even within the same body of water. Given the warmer temperatures we’ve had this winter, lakes and ponds that appear to be frozen over may be deceiving. Be aware of potential hazards under ice- or snow-covered bodies of water. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions locally and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Venturing out on ice that is not thick enough can lead to tragedy and we want to ensure that recreationalists have an enjoyable time while also taking the proper precautions to stay safe. State funded snowmobile trails never cross frozen bodies of water.
Check the websites of area snowmobile clubs for information on trail conditions, including the status of grooming. Individuals operating a snowmobile should be familiar with safe riding practices and all applicable laws, rules and regulations. The New York State Snowmobile Association website provides information about snowmobiling and snowmobile clubs. Maps of the state snowmobile trail network are available on New York State Parks’ website here.
A guide from I LOVE NY to snowmobile trips available in the state can be found here.
The DMV reminds New York riders that snowmobile registrations must be renewed annually. DMV allows snowmobilers to renew registrations online on the DMV website, by mail or in person at a DMV office. Snowmobile registration costs $100 but is decreased to $45 if the snowmobiler is a member of a local snowmobile club.
Non-New Yorkers who wish to use a snowmobile in New York State before or after this promotional weekend can use the NYS Registration for Out-of-State Snowmobile service to get a 15-day registration and operate their snowmobile here immediately. DMV will send a permanent registration in the mail.
For information on snowmobiling, visit parks.ny.gov. Visit the DEC website here for more information on snowmobiling on state lands.