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From Minneapolis StarTribune:

MILWAUKEE -- The state Department of Natural Resources has proposed stricter regulations on excessively loud snowmobiles.

If the proposal is approved, Wisconsin would become the first state to tighten regulations on noisy snowmobiles, according to the DNR.

The DNR is targeting snow machines that have been modified or equipped with products to boost horsepower and allow drivers to scream down trails at ear-splitting decibels. The fine would be $138.20.

The seven-member Natural Resources Board will review the proposal at its monthly meeting Oct. 22 in Baraboo. It would not go into effect until the winter of 2004-05, after public hearings and a review from the Legislature.

The regulations would allow game wardens to use equipment to test idling snowmobiles and predict whether the machines would exceed sound limits when traveling at full speed.

Snowmobiles that have not been souped up and have been well maintained would not be affected, according to the DNR.

``Most likely we will be at places where we have already identified a problem,'' said Karl Brooks, the DNR's snowmobile law enforcement administrator.

Game wardens currently hand out tickets for loud snowmobiles using regulations that Brooks said were vague and did not always hold up in court.

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association said snowmobiles produced after 1975 were expected to have noise levels of no higher than 78 decibels from 50 feet away while running at full throttle - about as noisy as a garbage disposal or vacuum cleaner.

The DNR has spent about $50,000 from snowmobile license fees on 20 noise devices and the work of a retired physicist who came up with a way to measure the sound of idling snowmobiles and predict how loud they will get at top speeds, Brooks said.

Donna White, president of the 32,000-member Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs, said noisy snowmobiles have caused trouble for all riders. There were 232,320 registered snowmobilers in Wisconsin in 2002.

Landowners have increasingly complained about excessive noise and closed their land to snowmobiles. Wisconsin has 25,000 miles of snowmobile trails, with almost all on private land, she said.

``This is good news. It will help us save some trails,'' White said.

A representative of Starting Line Products Inc. of Idaho Falls, Idaho, which sells products to modify snowmobiles, said most of the company's equipment meets the 78-decibel limit.

``I think where the problem is, is that there are some people out there who think that the louder the sled, the faster it is,'' operations manager Jerry Mathews said. ``That's not always the case.''
 

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I don't think my sled would pass the db test but then theres nobody here to test it. If there were I guess I would have to make it a little quieter. I don't think it would be over by much as it stands. I have been on trails when guys went by with sleds a whole lot louder. And they can be annoying in some instances. For the most part we ride on "public" land up here and we usually don't see more than a handfull of people a day unless its on the trail back to the parking lot.

Where the majority of the riding is on private land and you are loosing trails because of the noise and self regulation isn't working I think that some regulation is probably good for the sport.

I can say this knowing that I am never going to be subjected to it, but common courtesy in this situation doesn't seem to be doing the job.
 

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Thats good, people who make their sleds loud like and drive like jerks are compensating for a small... something.
 

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Up here in Maine, most trails go through someone's property, i.e private land. When you're out on a big lake or in the timberlands owned by the paper company the noise doesn't bother anyone. But there are towns where the trails run right thru neighborhoods. At night when a lot of the yahoos are out, listening to the braaaap, braaap, braaap, of a piped AC (or yammi or Skidoo[B)]) will wake the dead. When I go to some "resort"/cabin where there are many sleds coming and going all day and night, I get a small glimpse of what it must be like to live near a trail intersection. I can't imagine how the homeowners feel as people come ripping through their backyards at all hours. I do try to be respectfull. Like when people are out walking their dogs I keep it slow and steady until I'm like 100 yards down the trail or so. Courtesy doesn't end when you leave your mom's house.
 

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but remember Wi is the state that tried to enforce the 50mph night speed limit. We had a warden talk to our snowmobile club and he just laughed about trying to enforce stuff like that. If they do have guys on patrol for sound it'd be on major weekends and on major trails or junctions.
 
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