Snowmobile Forum for West Metro Trails
Three Rivers Parks to Host Public Forums on Snowmobiling
The snowmobile trail system in Hennepin County was built many years ago to connect the area parks through private and public land by obtaining landowner permission, an on-going effort handled by the area clubs. The loss of permission for the trail from a landowner requires a trail reroute or closure. Each year the Three Rivers Parks Board of Commissioners must approve the grooming contracts and trail locations for the snowmobile trail associations which now include Hennepin, Scott, Carver and Wright Counties so that snowmobile trails on the Three Rivers Park District property will be open for the winter season. The trails through Baker, Carver, Crow-Hassan, Elm Creek, Lake Rebecca and Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserves and Cleary Lake, Spring Lake and Lake Minnetonka Regional Parks are an integral part of the interconnected trail system in the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association’s Region 8 and the southern portion of Region 3, ultimately connected to the statewide trail system.
Three Rivers Park District is hosting forums and an online survey to gather public comments relating to the snowmobile policy and related topics which the Commissioners will use as they review the snowmobiling policy and operations. The public forums will be held:
Tuesday, June 25, 6:30 p.m. - Gale Woods Pavilion, 7210 County Road 110 West, Minnetrista
Monday, July 1, 6:30 p.m. - Elm Creek Chalet, 12400 James Deane Parkway, Maple Grove
Thursday, July 11, 6:30 p.m. in partnership with Scott County - Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course, 21775 Ridges Drive, Jordan
The survey relates to Three Rivers Park’s mission, snowmobile policy, Ordinance and snowmobiling in general. The various documents and policies referred to in the survey are set out below and can be found on Three Rivers Parks website or by contacting Three Rivers Parks directly.
Throughout the years the snowmobile clubs and Three Rivers Parks have developed an important partnership and have collaboratively provided a winter opportunity for snowmobile enthusiasts and others that may use the snowmobile trails to recreate. Many of these trails have been in existence for 35 years or more and snowmobiling provides an exceptional and positive opportunity to enjoy nature in the winter season. With the partnership with the snowmobile clubs, the parks can serve winter recreation in a fair and balanced manner allowing motorized recreation to exist with non-motorized enthusiasts.
Area snowmobile clubs value the partnership and are encouraged that through these forums a stronger relationship can develop. Under the present policy, clubs’ concerns include:
- the possible loss of trails through the parks due to temporary loss of landowner permits outside the park through situations out of the clubs’ control. As happened in Baker Park, it may take several years to find a reroute to complete a trail that fits the TRP link requirement and the trail could be lost.
- the loss of access to and from parking lots and neighborhood access. Parking lots allow snowmobilers/residents without trails from their home an opportunity to access the trails system as a starting location to the snowmobiling opportunities even though not on a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail adjacent to the park; and a neighborhood trail access, although not a part of a continuous grant-in-aid trail, provides this same opportunity.
- the loss of a trail because, due to expansion of the park, the trail is no longer on the periphery.
For more information from the trail associations with regard to the snowmobile trails they are responsible for, please contact the following:
According to Terry Hutchinson, past president of Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association and Trail Administrator for Sno Trails, Inc. in Scott county, “It is important for snowmobilers to let the Three Rivers Park District commissioners know how you enjoy snowmobiling in Three Rivers Parks and how important the snowmobile trails are to our area. Please attend a meeting and pass this information on to other snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers that are interested in the future of snowmobiling and a continued partnership with Three Rivers Parks.”
CHAPTER I, Purpose/Authority/Definitions
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Section 3 – Definitions
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r. “Motorized recreation vehicle” means any self-propelled, off-road, or all-terrain vehicle including, but not limited to, snowmobile, mini-bike, amphibious vehicle, motorcycle,
go-cart, trail bike, dune buggy, or all-terrain cycle.
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CHAPTER VI, Regulation of Recreation Activity
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
a. Operate a snowmobile in a park except on designated trails and then only on the right-hand side of the trail.
b. Operate a snowmobile in a park contrary to rules and regulations issued by the Board.
c. Operate a snowmobile in a park in excess of posted speed limits, when present, or at a rate of speed greater than reasonable or proper under current conditions, or in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the person or property of another or to cause injury or damage thereto.
d. Operate a snowmobile in violation of Minnesota Statutes, Section 84.81-84.90, “Snowmobile Laws,” and Chapter Five: Natural Resources 51-59, “Snowmobile Rules and Regulations” (all rules and regulations therein pertaining to “public land and water” shall apply on Park District property).
e. Tow another person or thing, except through the use of a rigid tow bar attached to the rear of the snowmobile, except in emergencies.
f. Operate a snowmobile in violation of any posted trail sign.
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CHAPTER VII : Regulation of Motorized Vehicles, Traffic and Parking
Section 1—Motorized Recreation Vehicles
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motorized recreation vehicle within a park except in such areas and at such times as designated by the Board, or permitted to the extent necessary to accommodate reasonable and safe use of trail by persons with disabilities dependent upon motorized transport.
Three Rivers Parks Snowmobile Policy