ST. CROIX COUNTY, Wis. (WCCO) — Despite the flakes that fell Tuesday in western Wisconsin, officials in St. Croix County say they had to make a tough call and close the snowmobile trails.

There’s not enough snow to keep them open.

“The trails will remain closed until groomers decide there is enough snow,” said Nate Beaver, who oversees the county trails.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, the all trails in the county became off limits.

The news came just three weeks after they were finally cleared to open.

Beaver says the county made the call, because the trails run mostly through private land, and, due to the shallow snow, sleds were digging into the ground.

“It’s definitely a safety concern for the snowmobilers and respect for the land owners,” Beaver said.

For lifelong riders like James Vought, it’s a bit of a bummer.

“If they’re not open in your county, you gotta trailer them and put ‘em in the back of your truck and go somewhere that’s got ‘em open,” he said.

It’s a professional inconvenience, too. He works at an Airtec store and sells snowmobiles and snowmobile parts.

“If nobody’s riding, the pieces that wear out, we’re not selling them,” he said.

Still, Vought says he can empathize with landowners.

Like many other snowmobilers, he understands that much of the sport is up to the mercy of nature.

“Be patient,” Beaver added. “We got a lot of winter left, and I think we’ll get some more snow.”

If significant snowfall comes, the trails will reopen.

And it could be worse. In 2015, those trails didn’t open the entire season.

To see which trails are open, you can call 715-772-6824.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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