- By New York State Governor's Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Sunday that March 14-15 will be a free snowmobiling weekend for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers -- a move that will further strengthen the winter tourism industry in the North Country and across New York. The Governor made the announcement before snowmobiling with his three daughters Cara, Mariah and Michaela at Saranac Lake.
"New York is home to more than 10,000 miles of some of the best snowmobiling trails in the nation, all with the backdrop of stunning natural beauty that has to be seen to believe," Cuomo said. "With this free snowmobiling weekend, we are encouraging visitors from far and wide to come to the North Country and points between, experience our great outdoor recreational activities for themselves and further strengthen New York's booming tourism industry."
During the promotional weekend, fees will be waived for visitors from out-of-state with properly registered and insured vehicles wishing to explore New York's nearly 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails. I LOVE NEW YORK will promote the weekend by launching a digital and social media campaign targeting out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts. To further support the community this season, the State has awarded $4.2 million in local grants for snowmobile trail maintenance and grooming across New York.
The state's snowmobiling community has a seasonal economic impact of $868 million according to a 2011 study by SUNY Potsdam. Winter tourism activities also support economic growth across the state, generating nearly $14.4 billion in direct visitor spending. The North Country attracted over 13 million visitors in 2018, up 21.6% since 2011, which has increased direct spending by more than 23% to $1.26 billion.
Participants in free snowmobiling weekend must operate a snowmobile with valid registration in their home state or Canadian Province, and must carry any applicable insurance as required by their home state or province. 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.
The I LOVE NEW YORK social media campaign will supplement the overall $4 million winter tourism campaign currently underway, which features snowmobiling and a wide array of winter activities in television, print and digital advertising, public relations and social media initiatives, and other promotional efforts.
The $4.2 million local grants, including $31,008 for Tompkins County, will support the maintenance of designated trails across the state for snowmobilers to safely enjoy. The 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 will distribute the grants to about 230 snowmobile clubs across the state, which in turn will groom and maintain the trails.
New York State Snowmobile Association President Rosanne Warner said, ""Low snow conditions have not made it any easier to get the trails ready for this season. We thank the Governor and the State Office of Parks for getting these grants out to the participating municipalities. This funding makes possible the 10,000 plus miles of trail the clubs maintain each year through their volunteer efforts."
Trail conditions may vary depending on snowfall amounts and other factors. Snowmobilers are advised to check the websites of area snowmobile clubs for information on trail conditions, including the status of grooming. The New York State Snowmobile Association website has information about snowmobiling and snowmobile clubs, and maps of the state snowmobile trail network are available on New York State Parks' website.
The DMV reminds New York riders that snowmobile registrations must be renewed annually. Snowmobilers can renew their 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.
New York State supports snowmobiling with a Statewide Snowmobile Trail System traversing 45 counties, maintained by about 230 clubs, and funded through 51 municipal sponsors. For information on snowmobiling, visit parks.ny.gov. Visit the DEC website here for more information on snowmobiling on state lands.