Numbered Snowmobile Markers Help Riders Monitor Location in Case of Emergency

With snow on the ground making snowmobiling that much closer a possibility, riders are reminded to keep track of their location using brown, 3-digit number signs placed by local clubs at intersections on Marathon County’s 900-mile trail system.

“We thought that it might be something that could be useful when they’re out on the trails. If they have a breakdown or emergency, they can use it to identify where they’re at,” said Jon Daniels, Motorized Recreation Administrator, Wausau & Marathon County Parks, Recreation & Forestry.

The system, first implemented in 2013, allows others to identify a snowmobiler’s location using a marked trail map. Or, in the event of an emergency, dispatchers will ask for the number and assist responders in locating the nearest intersection where the rider could be.

The signs are particularly useful for visitors unfamiliar with the area. “People who are local will know where they’re at, but it’s a great benefit to someone who doesn’t know what trail they’re on,” said Daniels.

Marathon County closely modeled their system on Vilas County’s and updates it every year as new intersections are created or eliminated. The five zones are broken up into four quadrants with their own number system: 100s for northwest, 200s for northeast, 300s for southwest, and 400s for southeast. Highway 29 splits the system north and south, while I-39 splits it east and west.

For comments or questions, call the Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department at 715-261-1550. For snow and trail conditions, call the automated number at 1-888-575-7669.