About 90,000 people are registered to ride on Maine's vast network of snowmobile trails. Every year, some of those trips end in tragedy.
During the 2013/2014 season, more than 100 riders were injured, and six people died. In an effort to reduce the number of fatalities this year, the Maine Warden Service and the Maine Snowmobile Association are asking riders to take a few simple precautions.
They are asking riders to refrain from drinking alcohol, to maintain a reasonable speed especially over frozen bodies of water, and to leave an itinerary of their trip with friends or family.
Wardens say they conduct between 30 and 40 snowmobile searches each year throughout the 14,000 mile trail network.
"Rarely do we know the missing rider's destination," said Maj. Chris Cloutier, with the Maine Warden Service. "They don't leave a plan behind and that makes our search really difficult."
Because of warmer temperatures and heavy rains in December, much of the early snow has melted, leaving trails too bare for riding.
The Maine Warden Service says riders should use this time to familiarize themselves with their machines and learn how how to make basic repairs in case of emergency.