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Snowmobile safety crackdown

A number of fatal snowmobile crashes in the Adirondack Park has police cracking down with sobriety checkpoints, and trying to get a message through to snowmobilers.

Posted: Feb. 19, 2019 6:16 PM

"They’re coming at you like a 60mph bullet." Town of Webb Police Chief Ronald Johnston is just one of a small number of police officers trying to curb the number of fatal snowmobile accidents in the Adirondacks. It’s a big task for such a small amount of people, but they're taking a steps to curb the accidents by monitoring the trails.

"The majority of these fatal accidents can be avoided, and could have been avoided, if people would just keep their speeds down, and stay away from the alcohol until they’re done riding for the day."

Alex Bassey owns a camp in Big Moose, but tells us he and his family don’t go out on sleds after dark. He’s seen numbers of snowmobilers go out riding after drinking, and is afraid the trails have become too dangerous at night.

"People are going to do what they want to do whenever they want, and if one place closes down or doesn’t serve, they’re just going to the next one, and then that bar or that restaurant will do better than the one that was throwing everybody out. It’s a game. You know in the winter time up here income is scarce so nobody wants to shut down."

Sara Shanahan is the Owner of the Big Moose Station. It sits right on a main trail, so people can ride right up and have lunch and a drink. She tells us they’ve taken a proactive approach to keep riders from drinking at night.

"It’s a little different for those establishments that have rooms. They still need to be conscious of overserving and also ID-ing people as well. However for us, due to the fact that we’re just a bar and restaurant and not a hotel, we have chosen not to open late night for that reason."

Sara tells us most of the establishments try to be responsible about serving, and that everyone benefits when they do. There is one more thing they can do to help police cut down on the fatalities. The Town of Webb does have a small police agency, but they’re trying to get their message to the snowmobiling community with coasters with one simple message: Zero alcohol, your smart choice. 

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