Nature Matters: Minnesota DNR Urges Safety Classes For Christmas

By KBJR News 1

December 12, 2011 Updated Dec 12, 2011 at 4:29 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
Technically, Minnesota's snowmobile trails opened December 1st but around Duluth, there's barely enough snow for a snowman let alone a sled.
That has hampered sales a bit at places like RJ Sport and Cycle in Hermantown.

"They've kind of slowed off right now for the last week but they'll get better as soon as we get the first snow." said Buddy Hernesman of RJ's.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is optimistic for snow as well.
Folks there feel there will be a lot of snowmobiles and four wheelers given to kids this Christmas.
They've started a holiday drive promoting safety classes for many outdoor activities.
Those who sell all terrain vehicles think the gift of safety lessons is a great idea.

"Absolutely. They're very helpful for people that are first time riders and even experienced riders can go there and refresh their skills and it teaches you to handle a four wheeler properly." said Hernesman.

DNR personnel also think a lot of hunting guns will appear beneath Christmas trees in two weeks.
They stress the importance of earning a firearms safety certificate as soon as possible.
For youngsters, parental lessons are also important as soon as the gift is unwrapped.

"First thing a young fellow or young girl should do is talk to their parents about it and check the muzzle for debris and make sure it is not loaded." said Scott Van Valkenberg of Fisherman's Corner in Pike Lake.

Along with attending classroom safety courses, the DNR suggests people use self teaching CD courses as stocking stuffers.
The DNR Information Center has discs covering ATV's, boats, snowmobiles and dirt bikes.
They feel a little knowledge will keep everyone a lot safer while enjoying the Northland's great outdoors.
In Duluth for Nature Matters, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.

To find the safety CD's, contact your nearest Minnesota DNR office.
They are also available from the DNR Information Center. The phone number is 888-646-6367.