ST. ANTHONY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Fremont County Search and Rescue (FCS&R) is calling on the public to show some common sense before driving off established roads.
They say they've been called to four separate rescue calls to help motorists stranded on impassable roads, due to heavy snowfall.
FCS&R advises, the further away from an established road you travel, the less likely you will find adequate cell service to call for help.
After Thanksgiving, wheeled vehicles are no longer allowed on roads that are designated for snowmobile trails. That includes the Mesa Falls Trail from Bear Gulch to Highway 20 near Harriman State Park.
There is also a Fremont County ordinance that stipulates it is unlawful for any person to drive or operate any self-propelled vehicle other than a snowmobile on groomed snow trails. Violators face a misdemeanor charge, a fine of $50 to $300 and even imprisonment for up to 90 days.
You can find trail maps through the Fremont County Parks and Recreation Department or district Forest Service office.
FCS&R also advises some simple reminders for anyone traveling into backcountry areas for any reason:
• Remember the time of year, exercising all backcountry cautions.
• Take necessary equipment and survival gear when venturing into the backcountry. If you have a GPS and cell phone, be sure to take them with you, but do not rely on them entirely for a safe rescue if you find yourself in trouble or stranded. Avalanche Transceivers and equipment, knowing what the avalanche conditions are, and knowing skills to save lives are a must for everyone entering backcountry riding or traveling.
• Plan ahead. Make sure you know the area you are heading into before heading into it.
• If you find yourself in trouble, stop, take a look around you, and do not go any farther. The farther you go the more complicated and dangerous it is to get yourself to safety, also making rescue efforts more difficult and dangerous. Make mental notes in relation to any physical features or landmarks that would assist in your rescue.
• Make a plan, stick to your plan, narrow the riding area, and most of all let someone know WHERE you are planning to go and WHEN you are to return.