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Four-wheelers ruin it for snowmobilers

What are the rules for wheeled vehicles on winter recreation routes? The Nordic Club, the Snowmobile Club and others spend many volunteer hours and member fees to groom various routes for members and nonmembers to enjoy. One four-wheel drive truck or quad can ruin an area in minutes. Do you have any suggestions to how to increase awareness and stop people from driving on groomed trails?

— Kathy Fennell

Kathy, unfortunately, there’s not enough snow this year to deter trucks and quads from venturing down these trails.

Signs have been posted along highways with trail access, but it’s not enough to prevent some rebels from trying the limits of their vehicles in the snow.

For those with quads, David Jordan, president of the Rogue Snowmobilers, recommends conversion kits which allow for off-season use and preserve the groomed trails.

The Rogue Snowmobilers is the largest snowmobile club in the state and is responsible for grooming about 174 miles of trails near Crater Lake, Jordan said.

“Generally, we put in between 62 and 80 man-hours a week grooming the trails,” he said.

Unless disturbed by unwelcome vehicles, the trails only needs to be groomed about once a week.

However, vehicles and quads create ruts in the snow that make the trail unsafe for snowmobilers, make more work for volunteers and, Jordan lamented, require more diesel to operate the Sno-Cat.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.