Snowmobile trails closing in Marathon County - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Snowmobile trails closing in Marathon County

MARATHON CO. (WAOW) - Marathon County's snowmobile trails remained open for 94 days this season - just one day shy of the all-time record, the county's snowmobile coordinator said Friday.

The trails close Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

For Trailmates Snowmobile Club board member Allan Zahrt, it'll be hard to park his snowmobile for the season.

"This season has been fantastic," said Zahrt.

Zahrt says he has few complaints.

"The trails have just been in wonderful shape, even to this point they're not that bad, but it's getting toward the end and it's time to get things put away," said Zahrt.

Marathon County Snowmobile Coordinator Jon Daniels says this winter was the second longest snowmobiling season on record with 94 days of uninterrupted snowmobiling. The record of 95 days was set during the 1996-97 winter.

Having an uninterrupted season is unusual, he said. "Typically, we'll have some zone closures or trail closures in part of the county, but this is the first time in recent history where all the trails have been open that entire time."

Daniels says record-setting snow created ideal trail conditions, which attracted people to the area all winter long.

"We're really fortunate when we've got snow like this because the travelers will stop here rather than continuing to drive north," said Daniels. "It just helps the whole economy here in Marathon County."

The next thing that snowmobile clubs will do is remove signs from the trails.

"We'll close fences this weekend," said Zahrt. "Once the frost goes out of the ground, we'll patrol the trails and we're going to make sure there's no left over things left on the trail."

Snowmobilers may not be ready for the end, but they'll hang onto the memories until next season.

"It's unfortunate, but it happens every year," said Zahrt. "So just put everything away and start thinking about next year."

Marathon County officials say this snowmobiling season was a safe one. Of the 23 fatalities on snowmobile trails in Wisconsin this winter, none occurred in Marathon County, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

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