February 10 2015
I don’t like to be the one to identify the life-threatening hazardthat ice fishing roads pose to other users of our frozen lakes. I am the last one to condemn other user groups that want to share the recreation opportunities that our natural resources provide except when safety is concerned. Those that are ice fishing especially those that havepermanent huts on the lake have decided that using their ATV to accesstheir hut is preferred to using the traditional snowmobile. And to takeit a step further since ATVs don’t function as well in deep snow it is more convenient for them to plow an ice road access to their hut. Whatthey are unconsciously doing is creating a “cavernous death trap” forthe unsuspecting snowmobiler that is passing by. I have witnessed people being injured after being thrown from their machines regardless ofskill level. I have seen unnecessary damage caused to snowmobiles thatcould have been avoided if these “troughs” had been marked or identified as the hazard that they truly are to other lake users. Leaving iceskating rinks out of this equation would be unfair. The snow banks fromrink clearing present a similar hazard but not as threatening sincethey are usually out of the main traffic routes and bordering ashoreline that can be more easily seen with a background landscape. Iceroads span nearly half a lake sometimes. So before the winter seasonclaims any more unnecessary snowmobile deaths I am asking those thatmake these roads and snow banks to enjoy your recreation but pleaselimit your own liability in the possible deaths and damage your snowbanks could cause by marking them with reflectors caution tape or abrush line. It’s time to use some common sense with some prevention …before our government has to provide enforcement of new laws againstthis practice.