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Snowmobilers Pay Their Own Way

Snowmobilers anxiously await the first snowflakes of the year. They appreciate the natural beauty of North America's winter season. They brave the cold with some help from the latest innovations in clothing and equipment. They spend time with their families and friends, traveling to resorts, restaurants and festivals. They ride local groomed trails and follow the network of trails that take them state to state or province to province, even across international boundaries. But, what many people may not realize is that snowmobilers pay their own way.

The thousands of miles of snowmobile trails across North America's snow country are built by snowmobilers for snowmobilers. Each state and province has its own method of funding the trail system; in each instance, the snowmobiler pays to keep the program going. Snowmobilers contribute to the trail system through trail permits, gasoline taxes and annual registration fees. Although state and provincial grants awarded to snowmobile clubs may help defray some costs, a large portion of the trail-building costs are paid for by snowmobilers through their clubs.

Club volunteers involve themselves in every stage of the trail-building process. In most cases, trails are constructed on privately owned land. Clubs obtain permission from landowners to create trails on their property, and then work with the landowner in the planning and design of the trail. Dave Smith of the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobilers, comments, "Although it is not always easy, landowners are often cooperative with the snowmobile clubs, and are sometimes snowmobilers themselves."

Clubs apply for state/provincial or federal grants to help with the costs of trail building and maintenance. According to Greg Sorenson, president of the Minnesota United Snowmobilers, the state DNR determines which clubs receive funds and the amount of each grant. "The decision is based on many factors, including the region in which the trail will be built, and the design of the trail." The clubs raise money to pay for the remaining costs of building trails through various fund-raising activities, including raffles, snowmobiling events and races, winter festivals and summer picnics.

The trails are literally built by the clubs. Snowmobile clubs provide volunteer workers to do the labor involved in creating the trail. Members of the clubs offer their time to trail building, maintenance and grooming, using equipment to level snow and clear debris. Equipment may be rented and additional workers are hired if needed, but as a rule, most work is done by the club volunteers.

Clubs work together to connect their trail to others, creating a snowmobile trail network that is as good as any highway system for both winter tourists and local residents to use. These club members enjoy the winter fun and camaraderie offered by the sport of snowmobiling, but just as importantly, they know the value of paying their own way.

Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association
7040 Lakeland Avenue N., Suite 212, Brooklyn Park, MN, 55428, United States
Phone: 763-577-0185     Fax: 763-577-0186
© 2018 Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association