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Kane Forest District urges snowmobilers to be safe, know rules

The Kane County Forest Preserve District urges snowmobilers know rules be safe including never riding alone. | Sun-Times Medifile

The Kane County Forest Preserve District urges snowmobilers to know the rules and be safe, including never riding alone. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: February 9, 2014 6:13AM

With snow totals providing for plenty of winter recreational opportunities, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County is reminding snowmobilers to stay safe and follow the law.

“Snowmobiling is great exercise that brings people outdoors to interact with nature and each other. It is great for stress release and good mental health,” Forest Preserve Officer Rick Splittgerber said in a release from he district. “But it’s so important to be safe, use common sense and follow all laws while riding.”

Splittgerber suggests the following safety tips before every trip:

Point your snowmobile in a safe direction.

Check the steering system. Does it move easily?

Check the throttle. Does it move easily? (Press in and release. Make sure it is not frozen in the “on” position.)

Check the brakes. Do they stick or bind?

Check the headlights and taillights. Do they both work?

Check the fuel level. Is it enough for the return trip?

Check the oil injection. Is the oil well full?

Check the emergency stop switch. Does it work?

Is the track clear of snow and ice?

Are you dressed properly?

Always tell someone where you are going and approximately when you expect to be back.

Never go alone. Always use the buddy system. Your life may depend on it.

In additional to regular trail signage, “You drink, you ride, you lose” signs have been posted along the trail. The district hopes it will discourage riders from being under the influence of alcohol while operating a snowmobile, the release said.

Trails are patrolled by the forest district police, the Kane County Mounted Rangers, and the Snowmobile Safety Patrol.

In the Kane County forest preserves, snowmobiling is only allowed on trails marked specifically for this purpose, including:

Campton Forest Preserve (on internal marked trails only)

Great Western Trail (west of Wasco only)

Hampshire Forest Preserve (on internal trails only)

Snowmobiling is allowed for transit only through the following:

Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve (transit through preserve only on marked trail)

Glenwood Park Forest Preserve (on the Batavia Branch of the Illinois Prairie Path)

Rutland Forest Preserve (parking only)

Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve (transit through preserve only on marked trail)

Snowmobiling hours are sunrise to sunset, except on the Great Western Trail, west of Wasco, where it is permitted from sunrise to 11 p.m. The speed limit in all preserves and on all trails is 15 mph, except the Great Western Trail west of Wasco, where it is 35 mph. Riders must stay on trails as marked.

The district also wants riders to be aware that snowmobiles must be covered by liability insurance (unless riders stay exclusively on private property not denoted as a snowmobile trail), according to the release. Proof of insurance is required.

Additionally, non-Illinois residents are required to purchase a yearly snowmobile trail use sticker, if the vehicle is not registered in Illinois.

More information on snowmobiling in the Kane County forest preserves is at

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