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State snowmobiling group says the activity provides a major economic boost

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A statewide study of snowmobiling showed the sport has an annual economic impact of about $868 million.

The study, released last week by the New York State Snowmobile Association, said that in the 2010-11 season, snowmobilers in the state spent about $434 million.

Locally, the Tug Hill region was credited with $165 million in economic benefits annually, and it accounted for 20 percent of snowmobiling activity in the state. Lewis County was recognized as the place where the largest number of second homes are bought for snowmobiling during the season.

Across the state, the average spending per household is $3,561 per season, along with an extra $3,200 for expenses like towing. Snowmobilers reported spending an average of 22 days on the trails during the season, with about 8.5 of those days spent traveling to another area of the state.

Gary Broderick, the state association’s president, said in a statement that the study showed the impact of the limited snowfall of last winter.

“With lower than average snowfalls across the state, snowmobilers were not able to spend the amount of time on their sleds as usual, and that directly leads to less money spent as well,” Mr. Broderick said.

The association noted in its release that similar research in New Hampshire showed an annual economic impact of $586 million. However, researchers noted that if the results for New York had been calculated with the same methodology as the New Hampshire study, the sport’s annual impact would have totaled $1.2 billion.

The results of the survey, completed by SUNY Potsdam’s Institute for Applied Research, were found by compiling 5,916 responses between a survey sent to registered snowmobile owners and an online survey of state association members. The average age of respondents was about 48 years old. About 90 percent of respondents were male.

The full survey can be found at www.bit.ly/RfTHVK.

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