Snowmobile trails open in Gogebic, Iron counties

By IAN MINIELLY iminielly@yourdailyglobe.com WAKEFIELD — The men and women of the Gogebic Range Trail Authority are busy packing, clearing and grooming snowmobile trails to make the riding experience as good as possible. Steve Hamilton, president of the GRTA, told the Globe Wednesday two-thirds of the water issues that have been drowning trails have frozen, but “trail conditions vary greatly and change rapidly.” Hamilton said Trails 8 and 2 are opening today. On the Wisconsin side, Iron County was opening some trails to snowmobiles today, according to the Hurley Chamber of Commerce. Around 85 miles of Iron County trails had been groomed, and the 8 a.m. opener today was expected to provide the best riding conditions in the past 10 years. Several trail closures were listed on the Hurley and Mercer chamber websites, but at least 110 miles were open to riding. Riders are cautioned there may still be water and low-hanging branches on some trails. Hamilton said some of the trails look excellent, but a rider can come around a corner and find a large water hazard covering the trail. Hamilton said Trail 8, east of Wakefield and halfway to Bergland, is groomed, but has several wet spots. Hamilton said Trail 8 has received 12 to 20 inches of fresh snow in the last week. Trail 2 from Wakefield to Marenisco has received somewhere between 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow in the last week. Trail 11S, which runs east of Wakefield and heads south toward Winchester, Wis., near Chaney Lake, has not been open for years, but has been getting lots of packing. Additionally, Trail 160 that runs by Walmart and goes to the Saxon Harbor bridge is packed and has trees cleared that were blocking the groomers, but is still in need of grooming. Hamilton said the GRTA is planning another work day on Saturday where people will take to the trails and clear brush. The GRTA is meeting at the groomer barn at 708 W. Longyear St. in Bessemer. Snowmobile permits and helmets are required, even for volunteers doing good deeds. If interested, Hamilton asked people shoot him an email at president@gogebicrangeta.org or just show up. Up-to-date trail reports can be accessed at https://msasnow.org/trailreports/grta/