Park County Search and Rescue officials say eight snowmobilers were rescued after illegally riding into the Beartooth Wilderness this week.

According to a news release, the sheriff's office received a report that eight snowmobilers from Wisconsin and Minnesota left Cooke City on Wednesday heading into the Beartooth Mountains.

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They did not return.

At daylight the next day, crews headed toward the Maryott Lake area. A search and rescue spotter in an airplane above noted multiple snowmobile tracks on the surface of Granite Lake.

A single rider on a snowmobile managed to get the aircrew's attention

The sheriff's office says the riders had gotten themselves into an area with extremely rugged terrain and downed timber. The terrain was so precarious, even experienced riders from the Cody Country Snowmobilers Association were unable to get to them.

Eventually, helicopters from Cody and Jackson began shuttling the snowmobilers out to the Pilot Creek parking area where they met with friends who took them back to Cooke City.

Motorized travel in wilderness areas is against federal law and carries with it fines of up to $5,000.

A search of federal court records indicated that no such charges have been filed.

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