As Labor Day passes and summer draws to a close, local snowmobile club meetings start ramping up. “I want you!” was the recruiting slogan for the US Army during World War I, and it is still a fitting slogan for today’s snowmobile clubs.
Have you ever wondered how that trail you ride on every winter manages to get groomed? Have you ever thought about how there are no trees or brush overhanging that trail to get in your way? Have you ever pondered how that bridge that crosses that creek in the middle of nowhere wound up way out in the woods like that? Have you ever stopped to think about how that snowmobile trail you are riding on is even there to begin with? Unfortunately these are a lot of the things that many snowmobile riders take for granted.
Snowmobile clubs are the backbone of the snowmobile trail system that so many of us enjoy. Every trail you ride on was made possible by an ordinary group of volunteers that spend untold hours securing easements from private land owners in order to build a trail. These same people then give up their weekends clearing brush, cutting fallen trees, dragging bridge materials out into the woods, constructing shelters and filing in washouts along the trail to get it ready for winter, then comes the signing and fencing for the trail and then endless hours in sub- zero temperatures at 2 AM grooming the trails to perfection, all so that you can have a great weekend ride. The reality is that without these people you would have no place to ride that nice new sled of yours. It is a misconception by many a snowmobiler that the state or province they live in are the ones managing the upkeep of the trail system- they are not. Yes, the various state DNR’s have a hand in how things are managed but the overwhelming majority of the work falls to club members. If you ride a snowmobile, then you need to be part of a club, it’s that simple. Clubs need people like you to help them function, even if you can only contribute one hour a year to help with trail maintenance, grooming or repairs, that one hour is one hour of work that at the moment isn’t being done.
Club members realize that everyone has lives and commitments and that some people can help more than others but no contribution of time or effort is too small and there isn’t a snowmobile club out there that wouldn’t welcome you and whatever you can bring to the table. The harsh reality is that snowmobile clubs need members and if there aren’t enough people to help, then work doesn’t get done, when work doesn’t get done trails close, and when trails close the sport as we know it dies.