CONCORD, N.H. - Winter is closing in, and snowmobile education classes are underway across the state. To operate a snowmobile in New Hampshire, any person age 12 or older must have either a valid Motor Vehicle Driver's License or have successfully completed an approved Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) Safety Education class taught by volunteer instructors trained by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Additionally, all children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a licensed adult when operating a snowmobile, unless they are on property belonging to their parents, grandparents or guardians.
Sign up soon if you or someone you know needs a class. There is no charge for the classes, which are usually completed in a single day. Parents are encouraged to attend along with their children. For a current class schedule, visit http://www.wildnh.com/OHRV/schedule.html. New classes are added as they become available.
"Snowmobiling is a great way for families to have fun exploring the great outdoors, but riders have a responsibility to obey the rules of the trails, to be courteous and -- most of all -- to ride safely," said Captain John Wimsatt, who coordinates Fish and Game's OHRV Education Program.
Many of the trained volunteer instructors teaching the safety classes are affiliated with one of the more than 100 snowmobile clubs in New Hampshire. "Joining a snowmobile club is a great way to learn about safe riding, help support local landowners and help maintain trails for your own and others' enjoyment," Wimsatt said. The New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA) and its member clubs have actively promoted safe and responsible riding since 1969. NHSA members work with Bureau of Trails staff and Fish and Game to manage over 7,000 miles of trails in New Hampshire and provide safety education to more than 1,500 riders each year. For more information on how to become involved with a snowmobile club, visit nhsa.com
In addition to safety education, this winter Fish and Game Conservation Officers will use innovative enforcement patrols to detect and apprehend impaired snowmobile operators, enforce speed limits, deter unlawful off-trail riding and detect machines with modified exhaust. These ongoing initiatives will help to keep the state's snowmobile trails safe for all outdoor enthusiasts during the upcoming season.