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DEC issues warning about ice dangers

SCHROON LAKE The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has urged people to use caution on frozen water bodies, especially when using vehicles. Those participating in outdoor activities on or near ice should pay close attention to ice and weather conditions. As a rule, there should be at least 2-3 inches of good, clear ice for it to be safe to walk on and at least 6 inches to safely operate a snowmobile. People should also avoid going on ice near or around moving water, especially with snowmobiles, ATVs or motor vehicles. DEC strongly recommends contacting a local sportsmens club or police or fire/rescue organizations in the area for information about recent ice and weather conditions before venturing out onto any ice. Because of significant snowfalls in December and the recent thaw, ice on New Yorks waters is not as strong as it has been in the past for this time of year and can be dangerously weak in some areas. Snows during the initial freezing period, and the recent thaw and refreeze, have left ice weaker on many of the state's larger waterways. Ice conditions in protected bays or shorelines may be considerably thicker than on open or exposed areas, or areas of moving water. It is recommended that everyone carefully research and monitor ice conditions in any area where they plan to fish, ride or walk and avoid waters where moving water can be seen throughout the state. This past weekend an ATV and two snowmobiles went through the ice on Lake Pleasant in Hamilton County and a snowmobile went through the ice on Lake George in Warren County. No one was injured in any of the incidents and the machines were recovered from the lakes with minimal environmental impact. Winter outdoor enthusiasts, particularly snowmobilers and those who ice fish, should thoroughly check ice conditions before entering onto the surface of any body of water. DEC cautions that the presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions.

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