Snowmobilers in the city limits. An isolated incident?

snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park

snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park snowmobile tracks in Hidden Valley Park
On Sunday night, two snowmobiles went through Hidden Valley Park where it abuts the back yards of the Valley Pond townhouses on the south edge of the pond.  They then cut through the back yards of two of our neighbors. I took the above photos of the snowmobile tracks yesterday afternoon.

Robbie phoned the Northfield Police Department’s non-emergency number to report the incident.  The person she spoke mentioned that city ordinance did allow for snowmobile use within the city limits to get to and from designated snowmobile trails.  So I checked the Northfield municipal code and found out that it’s pretty restrictive. These sleds were definitely in violation:

Sec. 78-207. – Unlawful operation.

It is unlawful for any person to operate a snowmobile, for recreational purposes, within the city, except as provided in section 78-208.

(Code 1986, § 735:05)

Sec. 78-208. – Lawful operation.

It shall be lawful to operate a snowmobile within the city only when:

(1) Traveling to or from designated snowmobile trails on roadways designated to travel to and from designated snowmobile trails. Those roadways are Maple Street, Ames Street, Jefferson Road, roadways which run parallel to any railroad tracks and any roadway that is the most direct route to such streets, on the ditch bottom or outside of trunk county state aid and county highways when highways are within the city;

(2) Operating at speeds not to exceed 20 miles per hour; and

(3) Obeying all motor vehicle laws and ordinances.

In the three years we’ve lived here, this is the first time this has happened, to my knowledge.

Is anyone else experiencing problems with snowmobiles within the city limits?

Any members of the Waterford Warriors Snowmobile Club reading this blog who could comment about the club’s rider education and self-policing efforts?


  1. Jane Moline said:

    With all the snow, snowmobilers have been having a great time. Sometimes they don’t follow the rules in their excitement. Good luck finding the culprits.

    Imagine how neighbors to a new Motokazie will enjoy the noisy snowmobile races all winter and noisy dirt bike races all summer–all for some one else’s “fun.” So they can burn fossil fuels and destroy decent land.

    January 5, 2011
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Jane, I’m not trying to find the culprits, just drawing attention to an incident which I’m hoping is isolated.

    January 6, 2011
  3. Dan Bergeson said:

    For years sleds have come into town from the north on Cedar and driven all over St. Olaf’s practice fields, but I changed my commute route this winter so I haven’t seen what’s going on there currently.

    January 6, 2011
  4. Griff as a snowmobiler myself, I really hate to see this. A lot of the policing is done on the honor system. Out on the snowmobile trails there are signs all over that tell people to stay on the trail. If you go off the trail the trail will go away. As for the in town stuff it is really up to the police to catch them in the act.

    Those riders have no respect for personal property and give the good riders a bad name. If I was out and saw someone doing that I would call the cops, there is really nothing else I could do.

    January 6, 2011
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Hayes. As a dirt biker, I understand completely. Last summer, a kid on a small dirt bike made a couple of loops on the path around the park and I cringed. I should have called the police and I will next time.

    January 7, 2011
  6. Liz Reppe said:

    We live east of Division (close to Econo) and had a snowmobile drive by our house a couple of weeks ago.

    January 7, 2011
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    Liz, has that happened very often in previous winters? And did you report it to the police?

    January 8, 2011
  8. I used to see the snowmobile tracks all the time on Heritage Drive, I thought it must be legal, it was so prevalent after a nice new snow.

    January 8, 2011
  9. Liz Reppe said:

    We have only lived in this house for a year and a half, so I don’t have much experience here. I did not call it in, although if it happens again I will.

    January 10, 2011
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    A snowmobiler cut through our back yard about 10 min. ago, this time heading west to east. I phoned it in to the non-emergency police number: 507-645-4477.

    January 10, 2011

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