Maybe you saw the headlines: Somewhere in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula late this past fall, a ski hill announced it would no longer allow a long-standing snowmobile trail to cross its property. The trail is question is a major connector between two areas – its loss could have a significant impact on riding in the region.
Do you know who is spending countless hours trying to figure out a solution? Members of a local snowmobile club. If they didn’t do it, who else would?
Meanwhile, somewhere in Minnesota this summer, in a story that didn’t make headlines, local snowmobile club members were invited into the room when a suburban city was collaborating with a contractor on plans for a new housing development. Right from the start, due to the clout and relationships that club has in the community, its input was sought to ensure a local trail could be maintained.
Snowmobile club members don’t just deal with trail and access issues, however.
Somewhere in Maine this fall, a “trail opener” party will bring together club members in a fun and social get together, with food, beverages, silent auctions and more. Somewhere in South Dakota this winter, a club ride will gather old friends and new for a glorious shared experienced. Somewhere in New York, a club’s joyous trailside weenie roast will engage current members and also introduce new people to the club.
The social stuff is certainly a fun reason to belong to a club, but the trails and riding areas are central to most club’s existence.
That’s why, somewhere in Illinois this past summer a club member went door-to-door, getting signatures to get formal permission from private landowners to let the trail cross their property again this winter. In Ontario in the fall, club volunteers shared an enjoyable workday, clearing overgrown branches away from the trail in preparation of the riding season ahead.
Simultaneously in Indiana, club volunteers gathered to install trail markers in ditches and fields once the crops were harvested. The usual “Stop” and “Stop Ahead” signs were pounded into the ground around intersections; directional signs and re-assurance diamonds delineated the path; “Stay On Trail” signs were strategically posted to try to prevent future trail closures due to wayward riders trespassing on private property.
Club members in Colorado met with federal agencies to assure access through National Forests, while others in Wisconsin schmoozed with paper and timber company representatives to keep trails open through their land. Somewhere in Montana, club members gathered at a trailhead parking lot to work on a shelter, while club members in New Hampshire replaced a time-worn bridge over a narrow river.
This winter across the Snowbelt, club members will climb into large groomers to pull heavy drags through the night to prepare the trail surface for our shared enjoyment. That’s where most snowmobilers see first-hand the direct impact of the clubs.
But how did that happen? The expensive grooming equipment is often owned, maintained and funded by the snowmobile clubs, which means they must somehow attain financial support – often a result of lobbying for state gas tax rebates or registration or trail sticker funds, applying for grants, holding fund raisers, getting local business support and more. They need a place to park the equipment – often in a club-owned shed, and they must take the lead in training operators on how to properly use it.
It all takes people, money and participation.
Snowmobile clubs do so much. Maybe you have the time, energy and ability to be involved in some of the aforementioned activities, or maybe you have a busy life right now but you want to support the people who do all of that work.
One way or another, if you ride snowmobiles the clubs are there for you. This year, be there for the clubs. The forward-thinking clubs listed on the below are specifically reaching out to you seeking your membership. However, if you don’t live or ride in any of their regions, they won’t be insulted if you find a club to join in your area. The key is that you join because there is strength in numbers in so many ways.
Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association
Brooklyn Park, MN
Douglas Area Trails Association
Snowbirds of Amboy, Inc.
Snowbirds of Amboy on Facebook
Belle Plaine Borough Riders
Belle Plaine, MN
Belle Plaine Borough Riders Snowmobile Club on Facebook
North Country Snowmobile Club
Crow Wing County Snowmobile Trails Association
Byron Snow Bears
Carver County Snowrunners
Carver County, MN
Rice Creek Trail Association
Cirle Pines, MN
Rice Creek Snowmobile Trail Association on Facebook
United Lakes & Trail Riders Assn (ULTRA)
Detroit Lakes, MN
Blizzard Snowmobile Club
Faribo Sno-Go Club Inc.
Fertile-Beltrami Sandhill Snowcruisers
Sandhill Snowcruisers on Facebook
Hamel Sno Runners
Hamel Sno-Runners on Facebook
North West Trails Association
Hennepin County, MN
La Crescent Snowmobile Club
La Crescent, MN
La Crescent Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Clearwater Trail Blazers
Clearwater Trail Blazers on Facebook
Lincoln Lakes Area Snowmobile Club
Maple Plain Snomads
Maple Plain, MN
Prior Lake Snowmobile Association
Prior Lake, MN
Randolph Snowmobile Club
River Valley Trailblazers Inc.
South Tonka Sno-Mobilers
Wild River Snowmobile Club
Taylors Falls, MN
S&W Adventure Riders LLC
Where Are We’s Snowmobile Club
Benzie Manistee Snowbirds Snowmobile Club
Benzie Manistee Snowbirds on Facebook
Kalkaska County Sand and Snow
North Country Snowmobile Club – UP
North Country Snowmobile Club UP on Facebook
South Dakota Snowmobile Association
Dakota Drifters Snowmobile Club
Dakota Drifters Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Clear Lake, SD
Dakota Trail Blazers on Facebook
Lake Poinsett, SD
Poinsett Pounders Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Whetstone Valley Snowmobile Assn.
Whetsone Valley Snowmobile Association on Facebook
James Valley Drift Skippers
James Valley Drift Skippers Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Black Hills Snowmobile Club
Rapid City, SD
Black Hills Snowmobile Club on Facebook
SnoTrackers Snowmobile Club
Sioux Falls, SD
Town & Country Snowdrifters Snowmobile Club
Willow Lake, SD
Town & Country Snowdrifters on Facebook
AWSC-Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs
Cross Country Cruisers Inc.
Arbor Vitae, WI
Cross Country Cruisers on Facebook
Near North Trail Riders of Athelstane Inc.
Berlin River Riders Inc.
Berlin River Riders Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Burnett County Snow Trails Association
Burnett County Snow Trails Association on Facebook
Cozy Corner Trails Inc.
Cozy Corner Trails Inc on Facebook
Midnight Riders Snowmobile Club
Midnight Riders Snowmobile Club/Dorchester Wisconsin on Facebook
Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club
Eagle River, WI
Northwest Relic Riders Vintage Snowmobile Club
Sno-Birds Snowmobile Club
Hudson Snowtrails Unlimited
Hudson Snowtrails Unlimited on Facebook
Kohlsville Kruisers Snowmobile Club Inc.
Kohlsville Kruisers on Facebook
Flake Chaser Snowmobile Club
Flake Chaser Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Minocqua Forest Riders Snowmobile Club
Monroe Stateline TrailBlazers
Chute Pond Snowmobile Club
West Shore Snow Pistons
North Fond du Lac, WI
West Shore Snow Pistons on Facebook
Oconomowoc Throttle Jockeys
Lake Country Last Call Snowmobile Club
Lake Country Last Call SC on Facebook
Prairie Riders Snowmobile Club
Pleasant Prairie, WI
Bo-Boen Snowmobile Club
Saint Germain, WI
Lake Country Riders
Lake Country Riders Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Chase Sno Chasers Inc.
Rolling Hills Snowmobile & ATV Club
Schneelaufers Snowmobile Club
Stone Bank, WI
Sussex Sled Bugs Snowmobile Club
Northern Lights Snowmobile Club
Three Lakes, WI
Northwoods Riders Snowmobile Club
Lumberjack Memorial Trails
Lumberjack Memorial Trails on Facebook
Waterloo Trail Twisters
Waterloo Trail Twisters Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Bear Point Sno-Cruisers