Duluth Snowmobiler Code of Ethics

So I feel like I am about to go to a Baci-esque Defcon 2 level on the snowmobile riders using my yard for their personal burnout entry way to the state trails. I live in Lakeside and after about the 4th ride through the middle of my yard that included track marks below the grass level I got to ask what gives. I am wondering if there is anyone out there who can fill me in on the snowmobile code of ethics. Before I start binge calling the cops I want to know if this is acceptable behavior on any level. I was a finger pointing old man at the guy I caught riding through the yard tonight that wasn’t interested in stopping to discuss the issue. I have no problems with snowmobiles as I use them plenty for ice fishing and certainly appreciate their utility. Does anybody else out there have any experience with this? Does calling the cops help?

19 Comments

jen

about 10 years ago

Try neon flagging. It's cheap and will get the message across. It helped us shut down a snowmobile problem in our yard last week. Usually snowmobilers are very respectful, but all it takes is one getting off track, then others start to use the tracks. Unfortunately, snowmobiles illegally trespassing in people's yards could be very dangerous to kids and pets. We've never had to call the cops, but if flagging, snow fence, or signage doesn't work for you, the cops or DNR conservation officer may be able to help.

in.dog.neato

about 10 years ago

lookie here.

according to *state* statutes, snowmobile traffic on public streets is permitted *if* weather conditions make it impossible for automobile use...but that applies to public streets. private property, i'm certain is another matter.

in.dog.neato

about 10 years ago

according to Minnesota statute § 84.87, subd. 3., city municipalities are restricted from enacting regulations that run counter to state statues regarding snowmobiles (and other OHVs.)

Eric Chandler

about 10 years ago

Snowmachine and ethics in the same sentence. You're killing me.

Windnpine

about 10 years ago

Already stated, but bears repeating - There is no such thing as snowmobiling ethics.  And sadly from my experience in Central MN, law enforcement is not interested in doing anything to stop them, and if you could get one of the trespassers to stop so that you could kindly ask him not to, 10 to 1 he would tell you to go __ yourself and probably accelerate away throwing snow at you to compound the insult (they like to call it "roosting" as in leaving a rooster tail on you).  

All in all, these are the most arrogant jerks in the state with an unbelievable sense of entitlement - in this case they feel they are entitled to your property.  If they become aware how you feel and who you are, I guarantee you will become a target for more damage.

I recognize that I am extremely bitter, but I have spent thousands on signs, trees, and fencing to protect my property and private trails from these idiots. I have loss dozens of young trees, and had my snow fencing ripped out.  I now have more permanent fencing and mature trees which took me years to pay for and grow.  One time the president of the local club actually called me to point out that the angle-iron stakes I drove in around my saplings was dangerous to them and that the "No snowmobiling Signs" I attached to them wasn't enough of a precaution, and of course he and many others have blamed this all on me, because "The guy who owned this property back before you got it didn't mind us being on his land."

One act of preventive sabotage you can try is laying a large white cotton sheet out under a thin layer of snow.  It won't work with every machine or in every condition, but with some of the newer high-perf sleds with large track paddles it could get sucked up into the tunnel and jam up the works (costing time and $, I hope) like a rope in a boat prop. I did this for years before my fencing was in and only got one idiot, but man was it worth it!  The kid's dad was irate threatening me with all sorts of legal crap and even got local law enforcement to make up more crap about all the laws I supposedly broke.  They eventually had to let it go because the trespass was so far into my property and my having sheets and tarps on my gardens in the fall (my story and I'm sticking to it) wasn't out of the ordinary. 

So good luck, from someone you has fought them for years, in stopping them  but nothing you can do, other than impervious fencing and outright  damage to their machines, will prevent damage to your property now that they have "grandfathered" in your yard as their trail access.

BadCat!

about 10 years ago

I'm not a snowmobiler, but from what I understand, a vast majority of the riders are nice people, and tend to want to stay on people's good sides. If you remember a few winters ago, some douchebag kids drove into a flock of ducks killing a whole bunch, and the local club went on the hunt and put up reward money to catch them.

Most of the time, simple flagging should keep people out (who either were unaware of the private property or permission status), but there will always be douchebags (as there is with anything in life).

Conrad

about 10 years ago

WindnPine you definitly have had a little of you die inside because of this.  I don't blame you.  I have never been in this situation nor do I snowmobile, but by your post I can clearly feel your pain.  I am glad you found a solution that works for you.

Nobody

about 10 years ago

I used to live adjacent to the Heights Community Club and after the endless late-night snowmobile riders tearing up the baseball/soccer field there, I called the cops.  

First, the non-emergency number had me hang up and call 911.  I did that and the dispatcher could hardly contain himself.  It went something like this:  "What? You want us to look into a snowmobile riding on a city ball field?  In the winter?"  Yeah, when there is only 3-4 inches of snow, I do mind if the field is torn up.  That and the fact that it is illegal to ride on the field.

I understand that not all riders are disrespectful, but it only takes one, or a few, bad apples to really spoil things.

hbh1

about 10 years ago

They always manage to get to our sidewalk before we shovel it, and compact the snow down. We do a lot of old-man-shaking-our-fists at them. 

If the roads are "impassible," which of course they were not, why can't they stay on the goddamned road instead of making shoveling a bigger pain in the ass than it is already? 

Bastards.

StrangeDamage

about 10 years ago

The Minnesota DNR has a code of ethics for snowmobiling.  It goes like this.

1. I will be a good sports enthusiast. I recognize that people judge all snowmobile owners by my actions. I will use my influence with other snowmobile owners to promote fair conduct. 2. I will not litter on trails or camping areas. I will not pollute lakes or streams. 3. I will not damage living trees, shrubs, or other natural features. I will go out only when there is sufficient snow so that I will not damage the land. 4. I will respect other people's property and rights. 5. I will lend a helping hand when I see someone in distress. 6. I will make myself and my vehicle available to assist search and rescue parties. 7. I will not interfere with or harass hikers, skiers, snowshoers, ice anglers, or other winter sports enthusiasts. I will respect their rights to enjoy our recreation facilities. 8. I will know and obey all federal, state/provincial and local rules regulating the operation of snowmobiles in areas where I use my vehicle. I will inform officials when using public lands. 9. I will not harass wildlife. I will avoid areas posted for the protection or feeding of wildlife. 10. I will stay on marked trails or marked roads open to snowmobiles. I will not snowmobile where prohibited.

mk

about 10 years ago

I deal with one of these guys flying up the alley all the time and my biggest concern is the kids who sled down the hill on the power line clearing and spill into the alley.  And yes, at 1130 pm, it annoys the shit out of me. 

Anyway, I've called the cops a number of times.  I forget the laws but yes, they can be on the streets.  However, they will stop them if they do not have a helmet(s) on, have no running lights, and apparently... a flag.  You know, like the one you used to have on your bike, on a tall rod and orange?   This was told to me by the officer and without anyone of those requirements, was enough for him to stop at the house and have a chat.   Good luck.

Windnpine

about 10 years ago

MK, I'm sorry my previous cynicism has welled to the surface again but a flag? Really? (there is no flag requirement) What you experienced was a law enforcement officer with no desire to deal with snowmobilers making up crap to blow you off, whether out of loyalty to them or out of experience that told him he had no chance of catching anyone on a snowmobile because A) they have marking letters less than 2 inches tall which no witness can read as they whiz by (and the snowmobile lobbyists will make sure they will never be larger to facilitate easier id of law breakers) B) they can go off-road at any time so a patrol officer will just look like a fool if he/she gives chase (and both slednecks and law enforcement know it) C) if any cop could catch them, the penalties are so ridiculously small you'd wonder why they took the time.

Just a heads up to property owners outside the seven-county metro area:  you MUST POST your land otherwise it is not considered a trespass.  Even if you catch the rider it is only considered an "ethical" violation and not the misdemeanor it would be.

hbh1

about 10 years ago

Well regarding Ethics #10, I thought their aim was to flatten into impenetrable ice every available surface in every field known to them, so that every neighborhood fox and vole and field mouse can starve. Because that's what they do up the Jean Duluth Rd.

baci

about 10 years ago



But seriously ... all I've ever asked is that people respect private property and our city. Whether it's puking on my steps, tearing up your lawn or accosting people downtown, there is nothing wrong with shouting out if something is bugging you. Sounds like you can't expect them to think about the rights of others before they tear up your lawn. You should post orange flags and signage. If they mess with that then ... may the force be with you.

TimK

about 10 years ago

When snowmobiles are outlawed from trespassing on private property, only outlaws on snowmobiles will trespass on private property! Hmmm, that argument somehow sounds stupid....

BadCat!

about 10 years ago

I don't get why snowmobilers think they have a right to tromp on any property between their garage and the open snowmobile areas. Get a fucking trailer already!

in.dog.neato

about 10 years ago

If only someone with a gun were there...

(Wow! That meme works on so many levels!)

Bret

about 10 years ago

Yes, here in Lakeside they buzz around the storm water tank on 52nd and Dodge Street, and in the process run over trees that some of us have nurtured for the last three or four years.  Ugh.

B-man

about 10 years ago

"All in all, these are the most arrogant jerks in the state with an unbelievable sense of entitlement"  

Yup. Sound reasoning and evidence wins me over every time.

Your frustration is understandable, your blanket condemnation of an entire group is the danger of stereotyping. 

I suppose all west-enders are drunk and all the kids that go to East are rich too.

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