Stalled start to the snowmobile season - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Stalled start to the snowmobile season


It takes a lot of work to get snowmobile trails in shape before winter, and usually, there's a short window of time to put up signs and cut down weeds.

"We work probably four or five weekends in November and into December getting it set up," President of the Bremer County Snow Knights Denny Koehler said.

A few days into January, volunteers should be enjoying the fruits of their labor. Instead, they're faced with brown grass instead of white trails.

"I am anxious, probably particularly anxious this year. I splurged and bought a new snowmobile and its sitting there with zero miles on it," Koehler said.

It looks like Koehler is going to have to wait a little longer. The forecast shows it will be at least a week before we get any snow -- and even then, it won't be enough to ride.

"We really need a good six to eight inch snowfall. And then another one back-to-back and then we have condition that allow us to groom," Koehler explained.

Koehler believes it's already hurting businesses along the trails.

"The restaurants, the gas stations, all benefit from snowmobilers," he said.

Koehler is concerned it the impact will continue down to Des Moines -- where lawmakers are expected to reconsider a bill from the 2011 session.

"I'm afraid it may curtail a bit of the enthusiasm about the pending legislation to raise our state registration fee from $15 to $30," Koehler said.

That increase would generate an additional $435,000 annually for the Iowa State Snowmobile Association and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to maintain public trails.

"It's still a live item for this session. We still are optimistic," Koehler added.

Koehler is also trying to stay optimistic about the weather. There are about three months of winter ahead -- and he's expecting to spend at least some of that time on the trails.

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