- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire Fish and Game officials have a simple message for the thousands of snowmobilers, ice anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts who will be in the state over the next few weeks: “If you don’t know, don’t go.”

It will be a busy few weeks for outdoor recreation as Massachusetts and New Hampshire schools close for winter vacation. The Fish and Game Department is reminding visitors that there are numerous areas - particularly on large lakes like Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam and Newfound - with large areas of open water or thin, unsafe ice.

Those lakes could have ice that is anywhere from 18 inches to one inch thick.

Maj. John Wimsatt says people should personally check the ice thickness across an entire waterbody before venturing out on foot, snowmobile or off-highway recreational vehicle.

“Do not assume that just because the ice is safe in one location, that it will be safe 100 feet farther away,” he said.

The U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover offers guidelines on ice thickness. It recommends a minimum of six inches for foot travel and eight to ten inches for snow machine or all-terrain vehicle travel. But thick ice doesn’t necessarily mean strong. Varying weather conditions can cause ice to break down.

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