February 16, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Two Free Snowmobiling Weekends

Governor Hochul Announces Two Free Snowmobiling Weekends

Registration Waived for Out-of-State Snowmobilers for First Two Weekends in March

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced two free snowmobile weekends for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers to rev their engines. This year’s events will occur March 1- March 3 and now March 8 - March 10, encouraging out-of-state visitors to come ride the 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails in New York State.

“Winter is here in New York, and we are ready to welcome visiting snowmobilers to our trails,” Governor Hochul said. “With the help of local governments and clubs, we are now offering two free snowmobiling weekends this year to boost tourism and support local economies. Plan your trip to explore a scenic, beautiful upstate trail this season.”

New York State already set aside the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in March as free for out-of-state snowmobilers, and is now adding a second. During this time, the registration requirement in New York is waived for already properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts. Participants in these free snowmobiling events must operate a snowmobile that is registered in their home state/Province and must carry any applicable insurance as required. Outside of this promotion, out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers are required to register their snowmobiles with New York State before hitting the state's trails – from the Hudson Valley to the North Country to Western New York.

These free snowmobiling weekends, March 1 - March 3 and March 8 - March 10, 2024, helps with tourism for state and local economies, and reinforces New York's commitment to the industry. New York State has made an ongoing commitment to snowmobile trail maintenance and our local grants program is funded by snowmobile registration fees collected by the State Department of Motor Vehicles and deposited into the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. County and municipal governments distribute the grants to about 230 snowmobile clubs across the state, which in turn groom and maintain the trails.

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “We invite you to explore the many snowmobile trails groomed and maintained by snowmobile clubs, counties and municipalities. As we celebrate our Centennial at State Parks, we are so excited to have the support of Governor Hochul and help introduce outdoor winter enthusiasts to the Empire State. I’m grateful to all those who help with the upkeep of the trails and make sure they are safe for all.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York State offers some of the nation’s most extraordinary and scenic trails for snowmobilers to explore and enjoy. These two free weekends in March provide a great opportunity for visitors try a new ride along any of the state’s thousands of miles of public snowmobile trails and experience the natural beauty of New York’s great outdoors.”

Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "New York State is truly a winter wonderland, and the annual free snowmobile weekend has served as an invitation for visitors to experience the state's cold weather beauty in an exciting and affordable way. This year, with two designated weekends, even more riders can take advantage of this program and create a snowmobile getaway that includes great lodging, tasty food, craft beverages and an endless variety of activities and attractions. These weekends provide the perfect opportunity to discover that when it comes to winter fun, it's easy to love New York."

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “Riding a snowmobile is a wonderful way to enjoy winter weather, and we urge everyone to ride responsibly and never while impaired. Your snowmobile must be registered in New York State, and you must wear a helmet. These simple steps will enable you to have a safe and fun time out on New York’s many scenic trails.”

New York State Snowmobile Association Executive Director Rollie Scroger said, “We would like to thank Governor Hochul for declaring and promoting both March 1-3 and March 8-10 as a Free Snowmobiling Weekend for out-of-state residents. The weekend is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to come and explore the over 10,000 miles of trails. New York State has many wonderful riding areas, thanks to the volunteers of all member clubs, who build, sign, and groom the trails for all to enjoy. We laud the opportunity to show them to out-of-state visitors.”

This announcement is also a good reminder for riders to observe trail conditions and safety procedures while snowmobiling. Trail conditions vary depending on snowfall amounts and other factors. State Parks cautions snowmobilers, fishermen, skiers and snowshoers to put safety first and to proceed with extreme caution before venturing on ice- or snow-covered bodies of water. Historically, the two leading causes of snowmobile injuries in New York State are excessive speed and operator intoxication.

Top safety recommendations include:

  • INSPECT and properly maintain your snowmobile; carry emergency supplies
  • ALWAYS wear a helmet with DOT-certified standards and make sure you wear appropriate snowmobile gear including bibs, jackets, boots, and gloves to withstand the elements
  • ALWAYS ride with a buddy or group and tell a responsible person where you will be riding and your expected return time
  • SLOW DOWN. Ride within your ability
  • STAY ON MARKED TRAILS. Respect landowners and obey posted signs
  • NEVER drink alcohol or use drugs and ride
  • FROZEN BODIES OF WATER are not designated trails; if you plan to ride on ice, proceed with caution and be aware of potential hazards under the snow. If you choose to ride on ice, wear a snowmobile suit with flotation built-in and carry a set of ice picks as a precaution.

Check the websites of area snowmobile clubs for information on trail conditions, including the status of grooming. Individuals operating a snowmobile should be familiar with safe riding practices and all applicable laws, rules and regulations. The New York State Snowmobile Association website provides information about snowmobiling and snowmobile clubs. Maps of the state snowmobile trail network are available on New York State Parks' website here.

More information on planning a great snowmobile getaway and other ways to enjoy winter in New York State is available at iloveny.com/winter.

DEC recently enacted speed limit regulations, effective immediately, for the length of the Adirondack Rail Trail which posts limits of 15 miles per hour in Saranac Lake and Lake Clear. Visit DEC’s website for more information on the Adirondack Rail Trail. Visit the DEC website here for more information on snowmobiling on Forest Preserve and other DEC lands.

The DMV reminds New York riders that snowmobile registrations must be renewed annually. DMV allows snowmobilers to renew registrations online on the DMV website, by mail or in person at a DMV office. Snowmobile registration costs $100 but is decreased to $45 if the snowmobiler is a member of a local snowmobile club.

Non-New Yorkers who wish to use a snowmobile in New York State before or after this promotional weekend can use the NYS Registration for Out-of-State Snowmobile service to get a 15-day registration and operate their snowmobile here immediately. DMV will send a permanent registration in the mail.

For information on snowmobiling, visit parks.ny.gov.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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