We're entering uncharted territory here, or at least Maine is. After a 2023-2024 winter season that's seen unpredictable snowfall, rain and windstorms, and higher than normal temperatures, the state has seen its snowmobile registration fall to an 8-year low. 

In fact, resident registration fell by nearly 10,000 from the prior year to just 46,000, though non-resident registration stayed the same at about 20,000. That's not good for snowmobile enthusiasts and lovers of the outdoors, as climate change comes for all. 

According to Bangor Daily News, "The numbers were not surprising to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The total was understandable due to the late start to the snowmobile season and early end in some areas due to the warmer than normal temperatures and the lack of snow, said Mark Latti, MDIF&W director of communications."

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The outlet when on to quote that "Snowmobiling has a more than $600 million impact on the state’s economy each year, according to a University of Maine study in 2020 commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry." So the lackluster registration is certainly hurting the state's economy, as well as the business' of snowmobile manufacturers. 

Maine's registration fall comes on the heals of what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated is the warmest winter on record for the United States. The agency stated, "The average temperature across the contiguous U.S. last month was 41.1 degrees F, 7.2 degrees F above the 20th-century average and ranking as the third-warmest February in NOAA’s 130-year climate record." Slightly terrifying given snowmobiles require...you know, snow, to operate.

There is some hope, however, as late-season snow storms have kicked up throughout the US that may bring glimmers of winter normality to parts of the country. But the lateness and sporadic nature of these storms aren't saviors, but could very well be our new normal going forward. 

Here's hoping we can figure something out so we don't lose snowmobiling altogether. 

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