WOOD COUNTY (WAOW)-- With the new snow covering the area, snowmobile trails in Central Wisconsin may soon open. The mild winter has kept trails closed so far, and that has hurt some businesses.
Trails in Wood County are covered in snow, but it's still not enough for them to open. Wood County Parks and Recreation officials say a 6-8 inch base of wet snow is needed to open trails.
"Winter season this year, just with the warmer temperatures, we haven't had the opportunity to open," said Heather Gehrt with Wood County Parks and Rec.
By this time last year, Wood County officials say trails were open for 25 days already. But this year, the snowmobile season has yet to start. And that's affecting businesses that depend on it.
"We had a great season in 2011," said John Montgomery, Co-Owner of Country Sports in Wisconsin Rapids. "But unfortunately, with the economy the way it is, in conjunction with the lack of snow, things have really fallen off this year," he said.
Montgomery says it's not just snowmobile sales that are down.
"That affects the service department as well as the part department, so overall business is down substantially on the snowmobile end of things," Montgomery said.
Montgomery says they have customers that travel from as far as Chicago. But he says when there is no snow, they aren't able to get their business. Montgomery hopes the season can still turn around.
"Typically February and March are some of the best riding times for snowmobiles. So we expect that we will end the season quite a bit better than things are looking right now," Montgomery said.
Wood County Park and Rec officials say they hope this most recent snowfall can help get the trails open.
"Snowmobile season usually lasts eight weeks if you're lucky and now we have kind of cut that in half. We are hoping for a really cold February so we can get the trails open and keep them open," Gehrt said.
Officials say when trails are closed, area gas stations and restaurants feel the pinch as well.
Other surrounding Park and Rec Departments say they are not sure when their trails will open yet. But officials in Adams County say they plan to open their trails this Wednesday at noon.