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      Snowmobiles are out and safety is important

      Snowmobile safety for the season is vital.

      Snowmobiles are out in force hitting the trails due to the recent snowfall. There are a few items that need to be addressed first before you take a day to hit the trails.

      Before you get onto a snowmobile for the first time, registration of your snowmobile is first on the agenda.

      Dave Evans is the safety officer for the LaFayette Trail Riders Snowmobile Club and he says, "You can go online through LaFayette trail riders or the New York State Snowmobile Association website and you can sign up to be a member of the club which will give you a discount on your registration of your snowmobile and that's how you get started."

      Registration is operated through the Department of Motor Vehicles. For the first time, you can obtain a temporary permit for up to 15 days by going online.

      One of the important procedures that the completely volunteer operated LaFayette Trail Riders need to follow is clearing, or grooming, over 50 miles of trails.

      Tim Rosenberg is the trail coordinator and he was out with his cat this morning. This wasn't a tomcat and it definitely didn't purr, it roared. The cat pulled the groomer through the trails making a compact surface for the riders.

      Rosenberg said, "We're taking the groomer out right now. What the groomer does is it smoothes the trails out, makes them safer fills in the wet holes... Just makes it a lot smoother. When the trails aren't smooth snowmobilers tend to get off the trails and then you run into problems."

      General safety while operating a snowmobile is of extreme importance, as you can impact not only yourself, but those around you as well. With the temperature coming down seemingly by the day, what you wear is significant to your safety out on the trails.

      Evans said, "the proper gear (includes) as helmet, goggles or a heated shield, gloves (and) warm clothes."

      Don't forget about your partner. Although it isn't required to ride a snowmobile, having one with you at all times is highly recommended.

      "It's more safe to travel in pairs with a couple of snowmobiles in case one breaks down, or somebody gets stuck and has trouble. It's always good to go with a partner and use the buddy system," says Evans.