Council member and Driftbusters member Baird says they need to be cited for trespassing.

    During the warmer months earlier this year, people operating four-wheeler ATVs in Crookston drew complaints from some local property owners and motorists for some of the things they were doing that bent the rules a bit. Now, with winter firmly settled in and snow on ground, it’s snowmobilers’ turn to draw the ire of some local property owners, mostly for driving on private property.

    Ward 3 Crookston City Council Member Clayton Briggs this week asked Police Chief Paul Biermaier to look into the matter. He’s been a victim himself, Briggs added, noting that a couple snowmobilers recently drove across his front yard and through his lilac bushes.

    Snowmobilers are given some leeway if they’re trying to make their way to trails or other riding destinations outside of town, but they’re supposed to use city streets and they’re not supposed to meander from the quickest way out of town, or back into town when they’re heading home. Driving on private property or on sidewalks or on bike paths or recreational trails or in parks is not an option.

    At Large Council Member Bobby Baird, actively involved in the Driftbusters Snowmobile Club, noted that 19 youth are signed up for an upcoming snowmobile safety session that will have a CPD presence as well as representatives of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

    “We stress that if you’re leaving town, use city streets and don’t speed and go the same direction as traffic,” Baird said. “We also made it clear that it only takes a couple of bad ones (to draw complaints and give snowmobilers at large a bad reputation in town).”

    Baird encouraged Biermaier to have officers cite snowmobilers caught on private property with trespassing, just like, he said, the DNR does when they catch snowmobilers in the country straying from designated trails.

    “People just don’t understand the law, and it’s sad, because we’d like to see kids get into (snowmobiling) and go (snowmobiling) after school,” Baird added.

    Ward 5 Council Member Dale Stainbrook said similar complaints have been made on the south end of town, with snowmobilers riding on the new bike path and on boulevards. They’re kicking snow into people’s driveways as they go by, he added.

    Baird said he’s spoken with local DNR representatives, adding that “they’re going to be out there watching.”