Letter to the Editor:

My wife and I have been coming up north to Eagle River for over 30 years this past January, as we enjoy the sport of snowmobiling.

In fact, we have now owned a residence on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes for the past 10 years. Eagle River and the surrounding areas historically have always been snowmobile friendly, and known as the “Snowmobile Capital of the World.”

On average, snowmobile tourism contributes over $35 million annually to Vilas County. A contributing factor to being snowmobile friendly is providing snow-covered trails, some that briefly run alongside local roads. This allows access to hundreds of miles of beautifully groomed trails in the North Woods.

Snow-covered trails running parallel to roads also allow snowmobiles to run properly, as the snow provides cooling for the engine, lubrication for the slide rails, and snow cover for the skis. However in many cases our local plows, which do a great job of keeping our roads clean, are unfortunately plowing the shoulder of the roads in these areas down to the bare gravel. This is unnecessary and damages the snowmobiles that provide so much enjoyment to all who participate in this sport and contribute millions of dollars to the community and local tax base.

We all understand that safety is paramount, but when the shoulder of the roads parallel to these trails are scraped down to the ground it causes those of us who operate the machines to swerve back and forth (on and off the snowbanks) to provide the snow (lubrication) to operate our snowmobiles. When we are forced to do this, it causes unnecessary danger to both the snowmobiler and vehicles running parallel to the trail. This could be avoided if several inches of snow were left in these areas for the snowmobilers instead of plows deliberately scraping it off.

I kindly ask that these dedicated snowplow operators work together with the snowmobile community to persevere enough snow alongside these areas.

Jim Rosenthal