As the boats are stored, the docks are removed, and the days get shorter, it is time for winter fun on Copake Lake. By late December, Copake Lake will freeze and ice fisherman, ice skaters, cross country skiers, snowmobilers and many others will be out enjoying our frozen tundra.
Snowmobiling is a popular sport in our community. However, as with any motorized vehicle, New York State has enacted rules and regulations which are enforceable by the local police, Sheriff’s office, and others.
Please be aware that there is no official monitoring of ice thickness, therefore participation in winter activities on the lake is at your own risk.
Click on the link below to view a pdf on guidelines for ice safety:
- If you use a snowmobile on Copake Lake, the snowmobile must be legally registered. In New York, one must register the snowmobile on a yearly basis. Yearly registration validation stickers must be displayed in the upper left hand corner of the DMV-provided registration number decals, or to the left of the owner-provided registration numbers.
- There are several snowmobile clubs in the area including the Columbia County Sno-Drifters Snowmobile Club here at Copake Lake. Their President is Bill Jennings, and their phone number is 518-828-1301. Members of a snowmobile club are eligible for reduced fees on their snowmobile registration.
- All snowmobiles which are not being operated solely on private property must be covered by minimum liability insurance. Since Copake Lake is not an individual’s private land, anyone operating a snowmobile on Copake Lake must have minimum insurance. Proof of insurance must be carried by the snowmobile operator and must be displayed on request of any magistrate, law enforcement officer, or anyone who has suffered personal injury or property damage as a result of the snowmobile operator’s actions.
- New York State requires an individual to wear an approved safety helmet while operating a snowmobile.
- The snowmobile must also have a working muffler, a head light and tail light.
Safety It is unlawful to operate a snowmobile:
- At a speed greater than reasonable or prudent under the surrounding conditions or at a speed greater than 55 mph.
- In any unsafe or reckless manner or in any way that harasses other people or wildlife.
- While intoxicated or otherwise impaired.
- Within one hundred feet of a skater, ice fisherman, ice fishing house, or other person on a frozen body of water not on a snowmobile except at the minimum speed required to maintain forward motion.
- Within one hundred feet of a dwelling between 12:00 midnight and 6:00 AM at a speed greater than the minimum speed required to maintain a forward motion.
- If a group sponsors a special snowmobile event, such as a festival or organized racing competition, the sponsoring group must obtain a special event permit from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) www.nysparks.com
- Snowmobiling is a fun sport. However, as with boating, safety is of utmost importance. Have fun but remember that all law enforcement officers, including Sheriffs, local and State Police, State Park Police, Environmental Conservation Officers, and Forest Rangers are authorized to enforce snowmobile laws and regulations. For further information on the rules and regulations of snowmobiling in New York, please check out the New York State Snowmobile Association website at www.nyssnowassoc.org or www.nysparks.state.ny.us
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