Weather permitting, snowmobile trails open up today, and with them will be the "Nature at Your Fingertips" tour put on by the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.
Out of the more than 200 miles of trails the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club offers to its members, there will be a 100-mile loop with 10 tour stops which highlight places of natural and historical interest, such as the 1872 Westfield train crash at Prospect Station, Stockton State Forest, Chautauqua Lake, Chautauqua Belle, North Harmony State Forest and others.
"We decided to do the snowmobile tours in a fun, new way to reach out better to people visiting," said Elyse Henshaw, conservation technician at Roger Tory Peterson Institute. "And to take the opportunity to educate people."
Rodney Sandberg, safety coordinator for Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club, and Elyse Henshaw, conservation technician at Roger Tory Peterson Institute, put up a sign in Stockton State Forest.
Participants can go up to the sign and either dial the number, or, for smartphone users, scan the QR code. Audio will be available for each stop, and smartphone users can access the website. Even if a person does not snowmobile, the tour is open for all outdoor enthusiasts out on the trails.
Founded in 1984, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute seeks to carry on the work of Roger Tory Peterson, a pre-eminent American naturalist who illustrated and chronicled the natural world to the public in the 20th century, by fostering understanding, appreciation and protection of the natural world.
The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club was founded in 1968 for the purpose of making a local trail system that was both safe and enjoyable. The snowmobile club reminds snowmobilers that 3 inches of compacted snow base is needed so as not to disturb the ground surface. Trails remain officially closed until a message is posted on their "Sno-Phone" at 753-2924 or on their website at www.chautauquasnow.com.