WAUSAU (WAOW) - The arrival of temperatures nearing 50 degrees Friday and some expected weekend rain in central Wisconsin has ended a record-setting snowmobile season in Marathon County.
The county's snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle trails will close at 8 a.m. Saturday, a day earlier than the required closing, coordinator Jon Daniels said.
"We have never been open this late. We shattered all those records," Daniels said.
The previous record for being open was March 24, 2004, he said.
The trails were open 65 days this season, compared with just five days a year ago, making it the longest season since 2007-2008 when trails were open 72 days, Daniels said.
The longest snowmobile season on record was 96 days during the 1996-97 winter, Daniels said.
Over the past two decades, Marathon County's snowmobile trails were open an average of 54 days each winter, Daniels said.
According to the state Department of Natural Resources, 19 snowmobilers were killed in crashes statewide this winter as of Friday, compared with 10 a year ago. None were in Marathon County.
Daniels said Marathon County's last fatal snowmobile accident was on March 7, 2006.
According to the DNR, over the past six winters, 115 people have been killed in snowmobile accidents, an average of 19 each winter.