Greetings from Aroostook County………
If you aren’t sledding here you don’t know what you are missing……….trails are absolutely awesome across The County…..overall trails are groomed and in excellent shape with light traffic. The weather forecast is for a bit of a warming trend over the weekend with some fresh snow Wednesday into Thursday then some light showers maybe Saturday but that will add some great moisture to an already great base.
CAUTIONARY NOTES: Snowmobiling can be great fun but remember you never know what might be around the corner or over the hill so here are some notes to help you be safe:
- Fort Kent and the Maine Dept of Transportation have been working to reroute traffic off the dike near the construction work on the international bridge. Sledders are cautioned to follow signs that will lead them to Main St. Keep right and reduce speed.
- There is lots of logging throughout The County remember it is their land, we are invited guests so please heed signs and proceed with caution.
ITS 85 around Masardis, near Ashland and between Portage and Eagle Lake. You will hit plowed areas so keep right and proceed with caution
ITS 81 Going into Madawaska/ very active so use caution
ITS 83 Going into Madawaska/very active so use caution
Rt 75 Squa Pan area…about 7 miles of plowed road so keep right an use caution
Remember that new ops may surface any time so please stay alert.
- MOOSE !!!!! Ok…….they are big, they are out there and you need to use extreme caution everywhere. Do not approach the animals. And for whatever reason they are attracted to field markers so if you see markers down could you help put them back!
- Lakes, rivers and streams are freezing up and most locals have lake trails marked now BUT DO NOT VENTURE OFF THE MARKED TRAIL. You may have a foot of ice below you on the marked section but only a few inches in other places so play it safe and play it smart.
- Life savers: With ice conditions very uncertain in many areas sledders would be well served to purchase these ice picks shown below. About $8 a pair you can wear them under your jacket and they would be ready in the event you broke through ice. Metal picks come out when you place them down on the hard surface. A worthwhile investment for sure!!!
ITS 81 From the St John Valley south to Houlton has been open and groomed with good surface. Southern Aroostook has their sections open now and have been through a couple of times. Heading south of Mars Hill please note that the #9 Lake Trail is closed currently due to logging.
ITS 83 No problems now but south of Houlton ITS 83 is open, Oakfield is excellent with some brush cutting still just before the 114 junction. Grooming is excellent. ITS 83 from dyer brook to Sherman is open but use caution. Still a lot of work to do.
ITS 85 You will find good conditions from the St John Valley south to the Katahdin region but keep in mind there have been several reroutes so follow signs and watch for the logging ops mentioned above. Everyone has been out this week. Rt 71D is open as a side route to Grand Lake Sebois however remember there is a water crossing.
ITS 86 is now open and groomed all the way through however Rt 62A through to ITS 114 is not open and may not be this winter.
ITS 88 is open, groomed and has a great surface.
ITS 90 groomed with a great surface west to east no problems with the exception of heavy moose traffic in some areas. Portage Lake is marked but sledders should stay on the marked trail.
ITS 92 from Ft Kent to Allagash is open and groomed but remember it ends in Allagash and DOES NOT CONTINUE TO ESCOURT STATION. Allagash does have a loop open to Glazier Lake……nice side trail. Remember the last gas is in St Francis for trip planning.
ITS 105 is groomed from Van Buren through to Squa Pan but further south is fragmented due to club work on trail sections hit hard with downed trees but Linnues was hoping to have their section open for the weekend. Rt 94 is open however Rt 89 between Caribou and Rt 94 is not open all the way through at this time due to open water on the Madawaska River….we will keep you posted. ITS Connector 105 from ITS83 in Linneus to the Junction with East Grand known as the pipeline is closed. It will be a week or so before that is open and then it will only be groomed by sled this year. The rest looks pretty good. Further south East Grand has ITS 105 open as well as Trail #7 however they will not have any other club trails open this winter.
ITS 110 is groomed and in good shape from ITS 81 to Mattawamkeag to Wytopitlock/Drew. Also in that area Trails # 1, #2 and #3 are all open and groomed.
ITS 112 from ITS 83 in Island Falls to ITS 81 in Patten is still a work in progress and they expect to have it back in a week or so.
ITS 114 from 83 in Dyer Brook to ITS 81/85 Shin Pond is still clogged with brush. They hope to have it fully open within 2 weeks.
ITS 120 (Debouille) Allagash and Eagle Lake have been out this week. No problem areas…great surface
Soldier Pond has been out water crossings at your own risk.
Twin Lakes (Daigle) has been out on their system and it is all open and groomed
St. Agatha has been through their system multiple times and is reporting that Long Lake is marked from Rt 79 to the eateries plus across to 98B
Frenchville’s system is open and has been worked multiple times.
Culinary Delights and Special Events
January – March. The Washburn Clubhouse and the Meduxneakeag Ramblers clubhouse are open for breakfasts for the season. Meduxneakeag is open for breakfast Saturdays from 6-9 a.m. and Washburn is open Saturdays for breakfast and lunch from 7-2 and Sundays from 7-12.
January 19 The Sly Brook Club will host a steak feed from 4-7 p.m at the clubhouse
Portage Lakers will be hosting Radar Runs….registration at 9 with runs starting at 10. Log onto www.portagelakerssnowmobileclub.org for more info.
Pleasant Ridge Runners will host a breakfast at the clubhouse from 7-11. By car off Rt 1A
February 9th will mark the 9th annual Andy Santerre run which begins at Griffeth Ford in Caribou. Log on to www.amhc.org for more info
Madawaska Snowmobile Club will be hosting the USCC East X Country Snowmobile 100 Race log onto www.madawaskasnowmobileclub.com for more info.
Caribou Snowmobile Club will host their annual hot dog roast off Rt 105 in Stockholm right off vehicular route 161 from 10 until probably 2.
And don’t forget……if some of the folks prefer non motorized activities we have some of the best Nordic ski trail in Maine, two world class venues, one in Presque Isle and one in Ft. Kent and then nearly every small town in The County has local Nordic trails. Snowshoeing is popular as well as some great downhill skiing and snowboarding at Big Rock in Mars Hill……so if you are coming to one of the top rated areas in North American to snowmobile……bring the family for lots of outdoor fun!