Snowmobile accidents and deaths are up in Maine this year as a cold and snowy winter has brought a resurgence of interest in operating the vehicles on the state's many miles of trails.

The state warden service says it has responded to 85 personal injury snowmobile crashes this winter, and there have been nine fatalities. Last season, there were 67 personal injury crashes and five fatalities.

The Maine Snowmobile Association says registrations were up to about 64,000 in early February. That is 5,000 more than there were at the end of the last snowmobile season, and the most in New England.

The record for snowmobile fatalities in Maine in a season is the winter of 2002-2003, in which there were 16. Back then, there were more than 100,000 registrations in the state. —PORTLAND, Maine (AP)

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