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ATV users warned of thin ice

State officials say snowmobilers and ATV riders are taking too much of a chance by going on the ice this early in the season.

A Muskego man was killed over the weekend after riding his ATV on Big Muskego Lake southwest of Milwaukee. It's a spring-fed lake that often produces unstable ice.

State DNR snowmobile administrator Gary Eddy says the ice is just starting to firm up, and very few bodies of water throughout Wisconsin are thick enough yet to support vehicles.

Two of last winter's 23 snowmobile deaths in Wisconsin were caused by drowning.

The National Weather Service says the average daily temperature this month has been 27 degrees, a degree colder than normal. Experts say it often takes a few days of zero or below weather to create five inches of ice, the minimum required for recreational vehicles to drive on.

The DNR often suggests a foot of ice, and spokesman Bob Manwell says you can never assume that any ice is safe. He says it's a good idea for visitors to ask local people about the conditions, especially now.