Caution urged as more snowmobile trails open in Marathon Co. - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Caution urged as more snowmobile trails open in Marathon Co.

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -

Marathon County officials announced Wednesday that two more snowmobile trail zones will open this week. But the decision also comes with a warning.

Many riders told Newsline 9 the trails are still very rough.

Wes Hall of Wausau said as soon as the northeast zone opened on Monday, he jumped on his snowmobile.

"I'm out every day," he told Newsline 9.

But he said the conditions in Marathon County could be better.

"In some areas they're not bad. In some areas they're a little bit on the rough side," Hall said.

Marathon County Snowmobile/ATV Coordinator Jon Daniels said the trails generally need a six inch snow base, but the southwest and southeast zones will open this week without that.

"It's just barely enough to get them open so we're trying to open them so that we can have a reasonably good snowmobiling season," Daniels said.

The decision to open the trails comes after snowmobile clubs recommended it.

despite the lack of snow, Daniels said riders can use the trails once they open, but they need to be careful.

"The trail can change drastically over short distances," he said.

One zone in Marathon County will remain closed for now: the northwest zone.

"We have the ability to close a specific portion of each trail if we would like or all our trails," Trailmates Snowmobile Club member Allan Zahrt said.

He said the trails in that part of the county are still too rough for the most part.

"There is still some dirt, rocks, some unsafe conditions and stream crossings."

But riders can take advantage of other trails. The northeast trails opened Monday, southwest trails will open Thursday at noon, and trails in the southeast part of the county will open at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.

Wes Hall said he'll continue to head out as long as they're open, always hoping for more snow.

"Six to eight would make all the difference in the world but a good solid 12 would help a lot of the bare spots," Hall said.

Daniels told Newsline 9 the trails in Marathon County's northeast zone are in fair to poor condition.

The two zones set to open this week, the southwest and southeast, are said to be fair.

For more on Marathon County trail conditions, follow this link: http://www.co.marathon.wi.us/Departments/ParksRecreationForestry/RecreationOpportunities/Snowmobiling.aspx

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