The 260 Clubs and County Associations that make up the New York State Snowmobiling Association (NYSSA) invite you to enjoy New York's 10,500 miles of trail this winter. Areas of our state have snow cover between early December through the end of March. Individual areas will open their trails on different dates based on hunting seasons and other factors, so please check with a local club for the most up-to-date information.

Snowmobile Handbook

We hope that all riders will periodically review the New York State Snowmobiler's Guide. A FREE printed copy of the handbook is available from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation - Snowmobile Unit
Agency Building One
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12238
(518) 474-0446

REGISTRATION

The New York Statewide snowmobile trail system operates on a sled registration system. There is no trail pass required, but all New York State residents and non-residents must register their sleds in New York to ride in New York.

Registration is $100 (one year), commencing from September 1.

Registration is $45 for riders who join a New York State Snowmobile Association Member Club and obtain a registration voucher. Anyone may join a New York Club.

Prior to registering a sled, you must have paid sales tax on your sled, unless you are a non-resident. Non residents are exempt from the New York state sales tax requirement for snowmobiles.

You can register at any Department of Motor Vehicle Office throughout the state. Registration renewals are commonly processed by mail.

Please see the Registration page for more details, including registration forms and Department of Motor Vehicle Office locations and hours.

WHERE THE MONEY GOES

$10 of the registration fee goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles for their processing effors. The rest of the fee -- $90 or $35, your choice -- goes to the Snowmobile Trail Fund, managed by law by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, where it is distributed through grants to snowmobile clubs, towns, etc. to develop, construct and maintain snowmobile trails and assist with the purchase of grooming equipment. A small portion - generally less than 15% -- is used for snowmobile law enforcement, safety education efforts, and related administrative expenses.


WHERE YOU CAN RIDE

There are 10,500 miles of funded snowmobile trails in New York, and (depending on the snow cover), your registration allows you access to every mile. The only exception is the Old Forge area. You must purchase a separate trail pass for this area, which has elected not to receive any funding from the Trail Fund.

A FREE Corridor Map, which shows all of the main "Corridor" and "Secondary Corridor" trails across New York State, is available on request from:

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation - Snowmobile Unit
Agency Building One
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12238
(518) 474-0446

For more detailed information, it's best to purchase an up-to-date trail map from a local club and ride on the groomed and marked trail system where landowner permission has been obtained for everyone, snowmobile laws have been complied with, trails have been maintained, snow has been groomed, and signs are in place. That's where you can ride without concern of breaking the law, irritating a landowner, waking up the baby, damaging forest growth and cropland or disrupting Sunday services.

OPERATIONAL RESTRICTIONS

Snowmobiles may not be operated in any unsafe or reckless manner, or in any way that harasses other people or wildlife.

It is UNLAWFUL to operate a snowmobile:

  1. at a speed greater than reasonable or prudent under the surrounding conditions, or at a speed greater than 55 mph
  2. in any careless, reckless, or negligent manner
  3. while the operator is intoxicated
  4. without the required lights
  5. on the tracks of an operating railroad
  6. in any tree nursery or planting in a manner that damages growing stock
  7. on private property without the consent of the owner
  8. towing a sleigh or toboggan except with a rigid tow bar
  9. in any way that the operator fails to yield to an emergency vehicle approaching from any direction 10. in any way that fails to comply with a lawful order from a police officer
  10. on a frozen body of water within one hundred feet of a skater, ice fisherman, ice fishing house, or other person not on a snowmobile except at the minimum speed required to maintain forward motion
  11. within one hundred feet of a dwelling between 12 midnight and 6 AM at a speed greater than the minimum speed required to maintain forward motion


Operation On Highways

Operation of snowmobiles on highways depends on the classification of the highway and the prevailing conditions.

  1. Snowmobiles MAY NOT be operated on the New York State Thruway, other interstate highways, or other limited access highways. The only exception to this law is during a snow emergency as declared by the Thruway authority or other agency having authority over the highway in question.
  2. Snowmobiles MAY be operated on the shoulders and inside banks of highways, other than limited access highways, PROVIDED that the highways have been designated AND posted for snowmobile use by the governing authority (State of New York for state highways, county government for county highways, town government for town roads, etc.).
    Snowmobiles may also be operated on designated highways for a distance not to exceed 500 yards to gain access to operational areas or trails adjacent to the highway. Again, an exception to this law may occur during a snow emergency as declared by the agency having authority over the highway in question.
  3. Snowmobiles MAY be operated on the OUTSIDE banks of highways other than limited access highways.
  4. Snowmobiles MAY be operated on highways, other than limited access highways, when necessary to cross a bridge or culvert.
  5. Snowmobiles MAY be operated on county, town, city, or village highways which are customarily unplowed and unused by wheeled vehicles during the winter months. These roads must be designated as such by the governing authority.
  6. Snowmobile operation on any highway MUST be in single file on the right hand side of the road, except to overtake and pass another snowmobile.
  7. Snowmobiles MAY NOT pull a person on skis or in a sleigh, sled, or toboggan on or across any roadway.
  8. Snowmobiles MAY make a direct crossing of any highway other than limited access highways at any time of day provided that:
    a.) the crossing is made at approximately a ninety degree angle, and at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing
    b.) the snowmobile is brought to a complete stop before crossing the highway
    c.) the snowmobile operator yields the right of way to all oncoming highway traffic

Check your New York State Snowmobiler's Guide for further details on where you can and can't ride.


SPEED LIMIT

There is a 55-mph speed limit on New York's trails unless otherwise posted lower.

We urge riders to travel at "reasonable and prudent speed for the existing conditions". Reasonable means remembering that many families are out riding together, enjoying the outdoors. Slow down when you meet other sledders, ease up when you come to a curve, bridge or rise in the trail.

If you are unable to control your sled
enough to keep it to the right hand side of the trail
and
stop in a safe and prudent manner -
you're riding too fast!


BORDER CROSSINGS

You must stop at customs to cross the Canadian border. Since 9/11, border security operations are taken extremely seriously, with good reason. Travel with the same paperwork you would carry if you planned on touring Canada by automobile - photo ID, passport, proper registrations and insurances. Many less traveled crossings have limited hours of operation, so check locally and plan your trips accordingly. If you are planning to ride into our neighboring state of Vermont, contact the Vermont Area Snow Travelers for information regarding snowmobiling in their state.


LAW ENFORCEMENT

All law enforcement officers of the state, including Sheriffs, local and State Police, State Park Police, Environmental Conservation Officers, and
Forest Rangers are authorized to enforce snowmobile laws and regulations. Law enforcement agencies actively patrol New York State snowmobile
trails. It is increasingly common to find a road block or a trail block manned by officers checking compliance with legal requirements, frequently at the request of the organized snowmobile user community.

State law enforcement aid is available to municipalities for law enforcement programs. For more information, contact the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

You must stop for anyone in uniform who asks you to halt. Please also stop for any landowner who asks you to - it's their property! For safety's sake - come to a halt for anyone who is flagging you down on the trails, and find out what they want.


HELMETS

Anyone operating or riding on a snowmobile in New York State must wear an approved safety helmet except when operating on property owned by the operator or passenger.


YOUNG SNOWMOBILERS

Snowmobiling in New York is a family activity. Grandparents, parents and youngsters sled together and activities for children are a big part of local snowmobile club's schedules. However, there are a few restrictions for younger snowmobilers.

Youth ages 14 through 17 years old may operate a snowmobile, on lands upon which snowmobiling is allowed, without adult or other supervision if they have completed a snowmobile safety training course recognized by the State of New York. If youth ages 14 through 17 years have not completed the training course, they may operate a snowmobile if accompanied by (within 500 feet of) a person who is at least 18 years of age.

Youth ages 10 through 13 may operate a snowmobile, on lands upon which snowmobiling is allowed, if they have completed a snowmobile safety training course recognized by the State of New York and are accompanied by (within 500 feet of) a person who is at least 18 years of age.

Children less than 10 years old or less than age 14 without a safety certificate may operate a snowmobile only on lands owned or leased by their parent or guardian.

Click here for a list of courses being offered throughout New York State. This list is updated on a weekly basis during the snowmobile season.

SNOWMOBILE ACCIDENTS

Despite the best precautions, accidents do occur. In case of an accident involving a snowmobile, the operator must stop immediately. The operator is legally obligated to render assistance, to the best of his or her ability, to other persons affected by the accident. The operator is also legally obligated to show his or her certificate of registration, and youth operator’s certificate (if required), and to identify himself or herself by name, address, and snowmobile identification number IN WRITING to any person who is injured or suffers property damage. If the person suffering the injury or property damage cannot be located at the accident site, the snowmobile operator is legally obligated to file an accident report with the nearest police agency within 24 hours.

Any snowmobile accident resulting in a personal injury, or in property damage exceeding $1000, must be reported to the nearest law enforcement agency or magistrate, with a copy sent to OPRHP. The operator of any snowmobile involved in a reportable accident must file a complete written report within 7 days of the accident.

Snowmobile accident report forms are provided by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and are available at any police station or from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Happy trails !

As you enjoy operating your snowmobile in the great outdoors, please remember to ride safely, to respect the rights of others, and to protect and care for the natural environment around you. If you do, you and everyone else will be able to enjoy the pleasures of snowmobiling for many years to come.



 

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