Ice Roads for Accessing Remote Roadless Properties

Real Estate Agent with Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities #1 in Forest Land Mgmt

Ice Roads for Accessing Remote Roadless Propertiesice road

We are often asked, how do you get machinery into my remote property with equipment for logging and construction.

The answer is an age old technique used in the Northern States, we make an Ice Road.

We have been having a pretty good winter this year, which is great for people who have a lot of work to do in the Northwoods.

Cold weather can be a blessing for hard working Northerners who need to get into remote areas far from roads, such as loggers or carpenters who are working on remote cabins.

A deep frost can be very good and very bad depending on what you are working on.

clearing snow from ice roadCold weather is hard on pipes and foundations and we often have to pile additional snow onto areas of the yard over buried water pipes and sewer lines to keep them from freezing.

It is good for ice fishing, although it doesn’t take much for enough ice to form on the lakes to drive out there and go fishing.

And it is Great for those of us who work out in the woods.

It allows us to get into all of the areas that are off limits most of the year and in years when we don’t get enough frost or when there is too much snow for the frost to penetrate into the ground.

Nature provides plenty of roads, but most of them involve crossing and traveling along swamps, lakes and rivers.  Many of the swamps and rivers take a bit to get properly frozen. The swamps have rotting organic matter keeping them warm from below and rivers have water currents keeping them warm from below.traveling on ice roads

Some years we get low temperatures but too much snow which can be a problem because all of the pockets of air in the snow make it work like a big old insulating blanket on the surface of the ground.

Deep snow’s insulating value is great to keep your pipes from freezing, but it gets to be a problem out in the woods when you need to make a winter road for hauling trucks and other equipment.

There have been many times when we had too much snow and needed to make a winter road and it took over a week and various machines to get the job done. 

large ice road on a riverFirst we go in with snowmobiles to pack down the snow in an effort to get most of the air out of the snow.  Then we wait a few nights for the frost to soak through the snow and freeze the soil a bit.

Next, after checking to make sure we have a few inches of frozen ground, we go in with a small skidsteer and remove the packed snow, and then we wait a few more nights.

Now we have a good solid road where we can haul almost anything, as long as we continue to keep the snow plowed off every time nature provides a new blanket.

This year is shaping up to be a good one for getting some work done in the woods so get your projects done before spring melts natures roads.




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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Bob - Interesting how you do that. When I was poking around in the NWT and Yukon, I saw where the ice roads that serve the diamond mines begin, but it was too warm for them yet. They were spending $80K a day supplying the mines by air until the roads were ready for the season.

Jan 03, 2015 11:20 PM #1
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Absolutely fascinating...have to admit, have never pondered such a thing until the advent of Ice Road Truckers,  which I find really interesting.  This is even more interesting.  Wow.  

Jan 03, 2015 11:21 PM #2
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Winter, it can be and is tamed and so misunderstood where snow flakes never visit! Neat post!

Jan 03, 2015 11:30 PM #3
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


I had to deal with those winter conditions in New Jersey . . . . and I remember them well.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jan 04, 2015 12:41 AM #4
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks, Bob, for your lesson on ice roads. Very interesting.

Be safe and have an outstanding week.

Jan 04, 2015 03:45 AM #5
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

This is the kind of information that I am sure that Dick Greenberg really gets into.  But, your explanations are very informative and make perfect sense, even to a layman like me, Bob. I certainly have a lot of respect for what you do and what it takes to do it!

Jan 04, 2015 04:30 AM #6
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

You did a great job explaining why and how you do what you do. At my remote property, we do almost the same thing. Except we don't plow the snow off the road after we pack it with snowmobiles. 

Jan 04, 2015 08:54 AM #7
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Bob Crane

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