View Full Version : snowmobile bridges

Jun. 29, 2011, 07:53 PM
My hubby & I are looking at a property that has trails that connect onto a fabulous snowmobile trail system. The only problem is that just off the property, in 3 different directions, are snowmobile bridges (with 3" spaces between boards) that pass through a swamp. The bridges aren't safe for horses, and there's no way around them. I'd like to contact the snowmobile club that maintains the trails & see if we can work together (we'd do the re-construction & pick up the tab) to make the bridges horse friendly. I'm a little bit nervous about this - I feel like the outsider trying to force my way in, but if I can make the trails more user friendly to equestrians, it'll give me more reason to buy the property. Anyone have experience with snowmobiile-type club trail use?

Jul. 20, 2011, 10:24 AM
I assume that the snowmobile trails are not ON the property you would own. Have you looked into who owns that property, and if it is even open to equestrian use? Is it possible that it is owned by the snowmobile club itself?

You can approach them with a win-win situation... you "fix" the bridges (that are not broken in their view, so not a 'win' for them) but also help maintain the trails to their liking, whatever that is. Not being a snowmobile rider I don't know, but maybe keeping logs off the trail, trimming branches, etc.

If the land is owned by the state or county, then I guess you would start with the dept of natural resources or whoever "maintains" the trails. There may be a local service organization or trail club that does the maintenance under the "supervision" of the state/county.

Jul. 20, 2011, 11:24 AM
I'm glad you're not thinking of riding over them. I know someone who did (it wasn't the spacing, but the thickness of the wood) and the horse went through. Luckily, the horse stood calmly, with all four feet in the creek bed while they cut her out with a chainsaw. :eek:

Jul. 20, 2011, 11:51 AM
I think the snowmobile folks would be very happy to work with you! Your use won't overlap and a bridge strong and well-constructed enough for a horse should be perfectly suited for snowmobiles in your off season!

I'd introduce myself as another outdoor sports person-they like to be out there having fun as much as you do; you have something in common!

Jul. 20, 2011, 09:39 PM
Don't be nervous-they'll probably love that you want pay and provide the labor. I grew up snowmobiling (no longer do, due to my horsie hobby) and the only time I knew the clubs to get angry was when the state or county paved the trail (that the club had done all the work on) so bicyclists could use it, and then talked about banning the snowmobilers bc they were ruining the pavement.

I would first contact the snowmobile club and then find out who the land belongs to and contact them. If it is county or state there could be some insane law preventing you from doing certain things, so you will want to get the go ahead from them as well.

Jul. 28, 2011, 10:33 PM
I can give you a NH perspective (my first post too!!! :D ).

If the trail is on the property you may be buying and you do buy it you can tell them they need to make the bridges horse safe if they want to continue to use the trail. Now that's not how I would say it (I really like the snowmobile clubs. They do an excellent job with the trails), but if it's your property it's your call. If they follow protocol the local club will come to you after you buy the property and ask you for permission to continue using your property for the trails. Some places ask every year, others work it out so they just check in once in a while after the initial OK to be sure everything is good or to let you know what improvements they want to make to the trails.
When we bought our property in SW NH we asked them to move one trail back one hill so it wouldn't be so close to the house. We also asked about riding on the trails and so far all the property owners in our area are good with that. 4 wheelers are another case alltogether.

They may take your input on what the horses need for the bridges, but prefer to build it themselves because of the needs of their machines, but I can bet they'd love help!

If it's not your property the first thing I would do is get permission to ride the snowmobile trails from the property owners. Most people here don't mind at all. We've been here so long I just note when a trail property sells and I introduce myself to the new owners and tell them the riding history of their property and ask if they plan to continue with the generosity. I, touch wood, haven't had anyone say no yet!

I'm sure I have forgotten plenty I had planned to say. You can ride all the way to Canada from here on the snowmobile trails. You can probably ride to my house on them! We love to ride the snowmobile trails, but as you have seen, pay close attention to the state the bridges are in. some are great, some not so much :eek:.

Sorry about the book for my first post. I suffer from occasional bouts of diarrhea of the mouth (or fingers).