AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - After a lackluster Winter last year, snowmobile season is kicking into high gear.
The snow we received yesterday and earlier this month have snowmobilers raring to go.
Most Winters snowmobiling helps keep the state's economy churning along, especially in rural areas. Studies show it generates about 350-million dollars a year. But not last year. With no snow on the ground snowmobile registrations were down 30-percent. That meant motels, lodges, Restaurants and gas stations took a big hit.
With this season off to a fast start wardens are reminded sledders to use caution non the trails. Back in 2003 there was a record 16 snowmobile related fatalities in Maine. Last year that number was down significantly. There were just 5.
"Every one of those accidents, every one of those fatalities is somebody's daughter, somebody's son, somebody's husband or wife and it's a very difficult situation when you have to look for somebody or notify somebody that something bad has occurred", said Col. Joel Wilkinson of the Maine Warden Service.
According to Wilkinson the two biggest problems are drinking and speed. He is urging sledders to slow down, drive within your abilities, save the alcohol for when you're off the trails and stay away from bodies of water at least for now.