MILLINOCKET – Typically, snowmobiling draws big crowds to the Millinocket area each winter, but this year, a lack of snow has changed that.
“It’s not good at all,” said John Raymond, president of Northern Timber Cruises Snowmobiling Club. “I think they’re kind of surprised because normally this time of year, they just trailer up. This parking lot down here below is usually full.”
Michael Rioux, the trail master, said 16 to 24 inches of snow is needed on the trails and 10-12 inches of ice is needed on water to be safe to ride on.
“If you want to ride, you’re gonna wear out your sled real quick riding,” Rioux said. “A lot of damage gets done. A lot of rocks, logs. We definitely need more snow. The ice isn’t safe to ride on, no matter what people say.”
Raymond said on top of the lack of snow, COVID has hurt the club too.
“Our club has been pretty much non-existent since COVID started last year,” Raymond said. “We’ve been doing nothing here, no rentals, no suppers, no breakfasts.”
Director of the Katahdin Chamber of Commerce Peter Jamieson said these factors have also impacted the hospitality industry.
“We’re not seeing the cars in the parking lots at hotels or restaurants currently, which we would expect as a seasonal increase,” Jamieson said.
They said there are other winter activities people can try.
“Free access to cross country ski trails and snowshoeing,” Jamieson said.
“You just gotta make your time and come up and find something else, a different adventure to do,” Rioux said.
In the meantime, they’re hoping more snow is on the way soon.
“If things don’t turn around soon, we’re gonna have pretty much a wash for the winter,” Raymond said.