Ice fishing roads equal involuntary manslaughter
February 10, 2015
I don’t like to be the one to identify the life-threatening hazard that ice fishing roads pose to other users of our frozen lakes. I am the last one to condemn other user groups that want to share the recreation opportunities that our natural resources provide, except when safety is concerned. Those that are ice fishing, especially those that have permanent huts on the lake, have decided that using their ATV to access their hut is preferred to using the traditional snowmobile. And to take it a step further, since ATVs don’t function as well in deep snow, it is more convenient for them to plow an ice road access to their hut. What they are unconsciously doing is creating a “cavernous death trap” for the unsuspecting snowmobiler that is passing by. I have witnessed people being injured after being thrown from their machines, regardless of skill level. I have seen unnecessary damage caused to snowmobiles that could have been avoided if these “troughs” had been marked or identified as the hazard that they truly are to other lake users. Leaving ice skating rinks out of this equation would be unfair. The snow banks from rink clearing present a similar hazard, but not as threatening since they are usually out of the main traffic routes and bordering a shoreline that can be more easily seen with a background landscape. Ice roads span nearly half a lake sometimes. So before the winter season claims any more unnecessary snowmobile deaths, I am asking those that make these roads and snow banks to enjoy your recreation, but please limit your own liability in the possible deaths and damage your snow banks could cause by marking them with reflectors, caution tape, or a brush line. It’s time to use some common sense with some prevention … before our government has to provide enforcement of new laws against this practice.