Spring snowmobiling conditions ‘great’ in northern Maine

Posted March 19, 2011, at 6:28 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 5:20 p.m.

FORT KENT, Maine — Last week’s rain and rising temperatures are turning trails to puddles and halting some grooming operations in Aroostook County,  though there is still plenty of snow for riding.

Despite the turn in the weather, spring riding conditions around The County are very good, Kathy Mazzuchelli, superintendent of Caribou Parks and Recreation and the voice of snowmobiling in northern Maine, said Friday. She added that riders need to be aware there could be washouts or water along the trails.

Riders in northern Maine had to wait about six weeks for the start of the regular snowmobiling season this year as snowstorms blanketed the central and southern parts of Maine before the area received enough snow for grooming operations to begin, she said.

“There was really not any good sledding up here until the end of January,” she said. “For now the spring riding is great, but I’m afraid it’s a little too late.”

Mazzuchelli said the combination of good snow over much of the state combined with a downturn in the economy and rising gas prices meant a decrease in ridership in northern Maine this season.

“Now we are just hoping the economy loosens up a bit and that maybe we get to be in the snow belt next season,” she said.