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Langlade County News

Snowmobile Passes Are A Must on State-Funded Trails

December 29, 2015

With the forecast finally call for sufficient snowfall—perhaps—to open northwoods trails, snowmobilers across the region are being reminded of a new state pass requirement.

Wisconsin law now requires snowmobilers to purchase a $30 pass to use the state’s trail system, though snowmobile club members get a $20 discount.

A separate $30 registration fee for a snowmobile is still required. But instead of lasting for only two years, the registration now is good for three years before it needs to be renewed.

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Gary Eddy, also the ATV/snowmobile administrator, said dollars generated from the snowmobile trail passes will be placed in a segregated fund to pay for the development and maintenance of snowmobile trails.

This is a direct benefit to Wisconsin snowmobiling, he said, adding the state is known for its outstanding snowmobile trails and winter fun.

Statewide, more than 600 snowmobile clubs maintain more than 25,000 miles of trails.

Funds from snowmobile registration fees and a gas tax on fuel used for snowmobiles, combined with trail fees, go into an account that pays for signs, grooming, trail maintenance and enforcement on snowmobile trails.

In other law changes, Eddy said a recent bill signed by the governor makes slight adjustments to Wisconsin trail pass requirements and commercial snowmobile registrations. Changes were effective Nov. 13.

Customers ordering ATV, UTV or snowmobile trail passes online will be issued a temporary trail pass receipt which will allow them to operate on public trails until their pass is mailed to them. Customers ordering the Wisconsin snowmobile trail pass (for snowmobiles registered in Wisconsin) at select license agents will receive a temporary operating receipt. The receipt must be displayed to law enforcement upon request. The temporary trail pass receipt is good for 10 days. Trail passes are sent via U.S. Postal Service and usually arrive within 10 days.

Temporary trail pass receipts will not be issued for the discounted snowmobile club member trail passes or non-resident annual trail passes. Non-resident snowmobile trail passes are available at many select license agents.

Antique snowmobiles displaying valid Wisconsin antique registration decals are exempt from the trail pass requirement. To be registered as an antique the snowmobile must be 35 years or older.

Non-resident snowmobile owners may now register their snowmobile as an antique in Wisconsin.

Commercial snowmobile certificate holders, typically dealers and rentals, may mount their trail pass and their metal plate to a removable plate. The plate can be removable and temporarily but firmly mounted. There are no size restrictions and the plate can be homemade.

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