OLYMPIA – Jan. 16, 2020 – Washington State Parks’ Winter Recreation Program and the Washington State Snowmobile Association (WSSA) announce that Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week begins this Saturday, Jan. 18, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 26.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation declaring the week, acknowledging snowmobiling as an important facet of Washington’s winter tourism industry. Snowmobiling contributes more than $90 million a year to the state’s economy.
Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week will be observed by the Winter Recreation Program and WSSA and its 1,000-plus members. The two organizations encourage snowmobilers to keep safe riding a priority.
“Safe snowmobiling means riding within your own capabilities, operating at safe and appropriate speeds for the terrain and never drinking alcoholic beverages before or while riding,” said WSSA President Dean Meakin.
“Snowmobilers should be prepared for any kind of emergency,” said Pamela McConkey, Winter Program manager. “Most importantly, always use common sense and keep a clear head. Learn all you can about responsible snowmobiling.”
Safety tips recommended by WSSA and the Winter Recreation Program include:
- Never go out alone.
- Stay within designated riding areas.
- Always wear a helmet and appropriate clothing.
- Take along a spare belt, spark plugs and tools to do basic repairs.
- Carry emergency supplies, such as a basic first aid and overnight survival provisions such as food, water, matches, flashlight and extra batteries and shelter-building materials.
- Learn about avalanche danger. Consider taking a course through the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC).
More information about winter recreation safety is available on the State Parks’ Winter Recreation Program website.
Approximately 25,000 snowmobiles are registered each year in Washington. They are operated by thousands of men, women and children of all ages. Snow-covered trails are maintained and groomed by private, public and snowmobile club volunteers across the state. A variety of winter recreationists use these trails, including cross country skiers, dog sledders, snowshoers, winter hikers and snowmobile enthusiasts.
About the State Parks Winter Recreation Program
The Winter Recreation Program manages more than 4,000 miles of groomed snowmobile and snow bike trails, 811 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and more than 120 Sno-Parks (plowed parking areas near snowmobile and cross-country ski trails) on public and private lands in Washington. The Winter Recreation Program is supported entirely by user fees, snowmobile registrations and a percentage of the state fuel tax. Follow the Winter Recreation Program on Twitter at @WaStatePks_WNTR and at parks.state.wa.us/winter.
Jason Goldstein, Winter Recreation Program, (360) 902-8662
Toni Droscher, Communications Office, (360) 902-8604
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
News release number: 20-004