Haliburton Highlands OPP and the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA) are asking residents and visitors to be patient and stay off local Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trails that remain closed.

In a Jan. 5 media release, the two said riders who ignore closed trail signs, or attempt to go around closed gates, are placing themselves, club volunteers and the local OFSC club at risk.

They said riding trails before they are opened can damage private property and may result in loss of riding opportunities in the area.

“Much of Haliburton County’s trails are on private property. We are there as a courtesy of the landowner,” HCSA president John Enright said.

Other tips included staying on trails, as off-trail riding can lead to closed trails. Enright added snowmobilers should ride within their abilities and understand trails are un-engineered, and conditions and snow surfaces can change rapidly without warning despite regular grooming.

He says people should always remember to ride sober and obey speed limits. Drive within your abilities and always adjust your speed to changing weather and trail conditions. You must also wear an approved snowmobile helmet that is properly fastened, the OPP and HCSA said.

“Plan your ride, tell a friend and make sure the trail you choose is available on the OFSC interactive trail guide. It’s your online resource 24/7,” Enright said.

To check to ensure trails are available and passable, go to ofsc.on.ca/trail-maps. More information is also available through the HCSA website at hcsa.ca.