By Robert Rizzuto firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED: December 20, 2008
Although some people are probably cursing the winter weather, a large group of people in Chautauqua County are gearing up to ride the county's snowmobile trails, but should wait a while longer.
Despite the official beginning of the season Friday, County Legislator Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, said people need to understand that the county's trails have not been groomed and are not safe for riding.
''The last thing we want is people to come to Chautauqua County this weekend expecting the quality trails we're known for and be disappointed. They're just not ready yet,'' Croscut said. ''Out of respect to deer hunters and land owners, the crews just haven't had a chance to get out there and work so the trails aren't groomed. Some bridges need to be put back in place due to high waters and a lot of work needs to be done. We're hoping they will be ready be next weekend but time will tell.''
Steve Latone of the Ellery Sno-Cruisers said the same thing as Croscut, adding that the several potential hazards lying on the trails can be very dangerous to riders.
''Right now there is probably snow which is covering barbed-wire fences and gates, and it will be bad news if someone hits them,'' LaTone said. ''There are also a number of farmers who still have their corn fields up and we need to be respectful of landowners.''
Steve Smith, Chautauqua County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs president, said before anyone considers going out on the trails, they need to be mindful of reality.
''We had the snow arrive early, then there was rain, then it froze and was covered by more snow,'' Smith said. ''People need to check with their local clubs before riding and understand that if they are out there before the trails are open they are trespassing.''
The average annual snowfall in Chautauqua County is around 208 inches, and almost 100 inches have already fallen and it's not even Christmas yet. According to the local snowmobile enthusiasts, this season should prove to be a good one to enjoy on the county's trails, once they are ready for riding.
''The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club, Cherry Creek Sno-Goers, Lake Effect Trailblazers and the Ellery Sno-Cruisers are all located within Chautauqua County, and offer members the chance to ride over 400 miles of groomed trails,'' Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards said. ''With four snowmobile clubs available to join, there are plenty of opportunities to become a member and take part of the countless hours of fun and excitement.''
Several of the area's snowmobile clubs are planning and organizing work parties to prepare the trails today and Sunday, as well as the next few weekends. Smith said the more people who contribute time to prepare the trails, the sooner they will be open to enjoy. Anyone interested in helping should visit http://www.chautauquasnow.com/ for local club contact information.
All season long, people can get up-to-date information about the trails' condition by calling 753-2924 or 800-242-4569, option 2, then press 5.
For current snowmobile trail information, call 800-242-4569, option 2, then press 5.
The Ellery Sno-Cruisers, based out of Bemus Point, groom 60 miles of trails and boast more than 300 members in several states throughout the country. Their Web site can be found at http://www.ellerysnocruisers.com/
Falconer is the home of the Lake Effect Trailbreakers who operate with the generosity of over 150 landowners and the dedication of countless volunteers who groom more than 70 miles of trails. Their Web site can be found at http://www.trailbreakers.com/
The home base for the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers is in Cassadaga, but the group has trails that run through several towns and villages including Cherry Creek. With seven groomers at their disposal, the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers maintain more than 130 miles of trails. Their Web site can be found at http://www.cherrycreeksnogoers.com/
The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club in Mayville has over 150 miles of groomed trails and is located on Hannum Road in the village. Their Web site can be found at http://www.chautauquasnow.com/
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