No charges for snowmobiler whose sled sank in lake

A snowmobile that sank in Lake Flower after its driver intentionally drove it over open water has been removed and apparently did not contaminate the water, according to a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

David Winchell, the spokesman, said the snowmobile was pulled out of the lake Friday evening, hours after the incident. “Examination of the snowmobile indicates all motor fluids are intact, so no fluids were released into the lake,” Winchell said in an e-mail.

He added that DEC will not issue any tickets to the driver, whom he identified as Shawn Wales, 37, of Saranac Lake.

Lori Severino, a spokeswoman in DEC’s Albany office, said there were no violations. “Fluids did not leak into the lake, and the snowmobile was promptly removed from the lake,” she said in an e-mail.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported on Saturday that two snowmobilers were observed going back and forth over open water on Lake Flower on Friday afternoon. Amanda Irvine called 911 after she and her son saw one sledder go into the lake. Her son ran to a dock and helped the man out of the water.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you get in someone’s vehicle until the rescue gets here so you don’t get hypothermic?’ and he was pissed off, to say the least,” Amanda Irvine told the Enterprise. “I said, ‘Well, it’s better your snowmobile than your life.'”

She said the man walked away. She added that she gave the other snowmobiler a “tongue lashing” for being foolhardy, but the man said nothing and left on his machine.

Click here to read the Enterprise story.


About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Serious Environmentalist says

    This is why all snowmobiles must be banned from the limits of the Adirondack Park. Snowmobiles are a threat to the biosphere, and a waste of fossil fuels, which cause global warming. I would support a mandatory confiscation of all snowmobiles in Adirondack Park, by the DEC.

  2. Shawn says

    Serious Environmentalist- You should live in the woods then if you think that ALL snowmobiles should be banned from the ADK’S!!!! I bet you think all people that live here should also be banned!

  3. Janet Gordon says

    Snowmobiliers who intentionally cross open water to “see if they can do it” should be charged with reckless driving at least.

  4. Phil says

    Lori Severino, a DEC spokeswoman in Albany, sent me the following e-mail this morning: “To following up on our call regarding why DEC didn’t ticket the driver of the snowmobile, there were no violations. Fluids did not leak into the lake and the snowmobile was promptly removed from the lake.”

    I added this info to the post.

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