MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — It's December, winter is on the horizon and Vermont's snowmobile season is set to open — if there's enough snow.
Snowmobile clubs across the state are putting up signs, fixing bridges and trimming brush on the 4,700 miles of groomed corridor trails and 1,500 miles of less-well maintained feeder trails in anticipation of the Dec. 16 start.
Snowmobile season is legally timed to start after the last possible day of the fall deer hunting season and the December muzzleloader and archery seasons. They end Dec. 15.
In years when deer season ends earlier, trail groomers begin packing the trails in the days before the snowmobile season opens. Matt Tetreault, the trails administrator for the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, which oversees snowmobiling across the state, said that can't happen this year because snowmobilers want to respect the rights of hunters to be in the woods.
He said it could take several days after the end of hunting season before groomers have the opportunity to get the trails ready.
"We're trying to get our message out there and respect our landowners and fellow sportsmen with the deer season," he said. "We need to stay out of the woods until the 16th."
About 24,000 people registered to use the trails last year, and Tetreault said his group is hoping to exceed that number this year.