OLYMPIA – Washington State Parks’ Winter Recreation Program and the Washington State Snowmobile Association (WSSA) announce that Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week began Saturday, Jan. 18, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 26.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation declaring the week, acknowledging snowmobiling as an important facet of Washington’s winter tourism industry. Snowmobiling contributes more than $90 million a year to the state’s economy.
Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week will be observed by the Winter Recreation Program and WSSA and its 1,000-plus members. The two organizations encourage snowmobilers to keep safe riding a priority.
“Safe snowmobiling means riding within your own capabilities, operating at safe and appropriate speeds for the terrain and never drinking alcoholic beverages before or while riding,” said WSSA President Dean Meakin.
“Snowmobilers should be prepared for any kind of emergency,” said Pamela McConkey, Winter Program manager. “Most importantly, always use common sense and keep a clear head. Learn all you can about responsible snowmobiling.”
Safety tips recommended by WSSA and the Winter Recreation Program include:
- Never go out alone.
- Stay within designated riding areas.
- Always wear a helmet and appropriate clothing.
- Take along a spare belt, spark plugs and tools to do basic repairs.
- Carry emergency supplies, such as a basic first aid and overnight survival provisions such as food, water, matches, flashlight and extra batteries and shelter-building materials.
- Learn about avalanche danger. Consider taking a course through the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC).
More information about winter recreation safety is available on the State Parks’ Winter Recreation Program website.