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New law changes snowmobile registration, trail funding

MADISON, Wis. (WXPR) -- Two recently ­signed laws are designed to help promote snowmobiling in the Northwoods. One change will affect most riders.

Act 142 goes into effect in 2015. Snowmobile registration will cost $30 and will be extended to three years from the current two. A key provision of the law is ALL snowmobiles on public trails will be required to display a trail pass. But there is a way to pay less.

DNR snowmobile grants manager Cathy Burrow says the snowmobile trails are mostly groomed by volunteers. The money used to pay for the grooming comes from user fees from registrations, non­resident trail passes and the gas tax. The DNR awards grants to the counties, who in turn, contract with local clubs to maintain the trails.  "The clubs normally only get back a percentage of the money they spend to do the grooming, particularly up north where there is a lot of snow....because if we don't have enough money to pay the full amount, the payments are pro­rated."

To get more people to join snowmobiles clubs and volunteer, the snowmobile registration fee will be $10.00 if they're in clubs.

Act 233 expands on a previous law enabling owners of of snowmobile with a model year of 1966 or older to register as an antique. The new law expands the definition of an antique to be a machine 35 years or older.