REED CITY — Winter 2012 started out slow, then picked up the pace with a vengeance.

No snow. Snow. Almost balmy weather. Bitter cold.

Bucket loads of snow.

And here it is.

With enough snow on the ground to support trail traffic the past few weekends, snowmobiling throughout the Osceola County area has increased by leaps and bounds.

Snowmobile fans are already out on the trails in good numbers.

On one recent weekend, some 731 sleds passed through the Reed City Crossroads trail intersection heading off for a day on the Rails to Trails that is already being groomed and well used.

“I’m pretty happy with things,” reported Reed City Area Police Department Chief Chuck Davis. “I’ve been waiting for the snow along with everyone else.

“Now that it has arrived, we’ve started our annual snowmobile patrol.

“Our first shift out on the trail took place Friday evening, Jan. 13. Better late than never.”

The Reed City Police Department Snowmobile Patrol is out keeping and eye on things and making sure folks not only enjoy their use of the trails system, but also get home safely.

“This is the sixth year we’ve run a snowmobile patrol within the city limits,” noted Davis. “We’ve been out since the week before last and Officer Mike Dermyer has had a great time connecting with folks passing through.

“Our snowmobile officer not only makes sure folks are safe and behaving responsibly on our section of the trail, but he also passes out a lot of information about the area. He is a real asset — sometimes just by answering questions on how to get to the closest gas stations.”

The RCPD owns its own snowsled — paid off over four years with Michigan DNR grants.

Regular riders through the Reed City area have gotten to know Dermyer over the past couple years.

“He actually gets calls from around the state asking how things are out on the trail,” said Davis. “He has a tremendous relationship with riders on the trail.

“They appreciate and trust him.”

Davis noted his team have noticed a lot more ‘family traffic’ on the trail last year and already this year.

“The east west trail seems to be much more busy that the north-south stretch,” he pointed out.

“People see to be heading toward either Lake County while heading west, or Evart when riding east, and it’s great to be in Reed City to meet them, serve them as best we can, and make them feel welcome.

“There are a lot of people using our city as a trailhead. That’s very, very good to see.”

Davis noted it was not his department’s intention to be “hassling” snow mobile riders. Quite the opposite.

“We really don’t want to be a bother,” he said. “We want to make sure folks are safe and behaving themselves.

“It’s a lot less of an issue when we talk about family groups.

“Families take it a little slower and are a lot more interested in taking part in everything trail communities have to offer.

“Families love stopped and visiting with other groups and locals at The Depot.

“Our snowmobile patrol has been a good “tool” in making sure there is responsible snowmobiling within our city limits.”

Davis encourages reasonable riding on the trails, especially when passing through residential areas.

“Officer Dermyer is out there to make sure people travel at a decent speed through the residential area of our city,” he pointed out.

“He watches for speeding and keeps an eye out for reckless driving.

“We want to make sure people have great day on the trails in our area, and get home safely.”