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Riders put routes at risk when they leave snowmobile trails

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Nearly 2 miles of snowmobile trails are at risk along Corridor 12 in Minocqua, unless people stay on the trail.

Throughout many snowmobile trails across the state, signs can be found that read "Riding on this trail is a privilege."

That privilege is one that the Minocqua Forest Riders Snowmobile Club said is being violated by riders failing to abide by trail-marker guidelines.

And now a landowner is nearing his breaking point.

"When landowners have signs posted 'no trespassing' it means they don't want you on their property." said Club President Curt Christensen.

If it keeps up, Christensen says the trespassing on private property will cause landowners to leave their agreement, which allows snowmobilers to pass through.

"It's a couple, maybe three or four snowmobiles, but they're going to ruin it for hundred, maybe thousands of riders." said Christensen.

In turn forcing them to reroute trails, or worse, close them entirely.

"We could lose big sections of trail, and we don't want that to happen otherwise the sport isn't going to be fun anymore." said Christensen.

Trail closures aside, there are legal ramifications for trespassing as well. The Oneida County Sheriff's Department says riding through people's property could cost you $300, and that's per person, including passengers.

Christensen said their relationships with their landowners is good, and they are built on respect.

"These people are kind enough to give us permission to use a portion of their property, we should respect the portion they're allowing us to ride on." said Christensen.

The Sheriff's officials and snowmobile clubs are just urging people to follow the rules so they don't ruin the trails for everyone.

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