MSA News & Snowmobiling Issues
Posted:Maine Snowmobile Association Presents Annual Awards
MSA Annual Awards
Snowmobile Program Report Presented
Snowmobile Trail funding survey
The Maine Snowmobile Association recognized a number of snowmobile club volunteers and friends of Maine snowmobiling during the association Annual Meeting held April 12, 2014 at the Pine Tree Camp on the shores of North Pond in Rome, Maine. Honorees for the 2013-2014 winter snowmobile season are:
Snowmobile Club of the Year: Portage Lakers Snowmobile Club of Portage Lake-President Jen Curran
The members of the Portage Lakers Snowmobile Club met a significant challenge last season, when their large groomer went through the ice of Portage Lake and was left sitting in 16 feet of water. Thankfully the operator was not seriously injured. This is the sort of incident that can be a club-killer, but within hours it was all hands on deck for club and community members who rallied to get the rig out of the lake. Then came the hard part - raising funds to purchase a new groomer, and permanently moving the trail off the lake and onto dry land. Bottle drives, and a Groomer Appreciation Fundraiser Party raised thousands, and the sales agreement for a new groomer was signed. Next the club tackled moving the trail with a 15 mile reroute of ITS 85. Over 1000 hours of volunteer time cleared the route and built two bridges. Fundraisers continued. The club even put QR codes on their trail signs so riders can donate to the club, on the trail, using their smart phone. Amidst it all, they continued with their regular club events and a radar run. Upon presentation of the award, MSA Executive Director Bob Meyers said "The Portage Lakers are an inspiration to every club in this state. This is how you do it and do it well, while at the same time remembering that it is only snowmobiling and it's supposed to be fun."
Snowmobiler of the Year: John Monk of Hermon
A member of the Paul Bunyan Snowmobile Club of Bangor, John Monk is a snowmobiler who finds time to fit a great deal of riding and a great deal of volunteer effort into every snowmobile season. John is involved in trail work, maintaining grooming equipment, cutting brush, and maintaining the clubhouse, and his hard work and positive attitude naturally encourage other members to join in the work, too. He is active in the state association, serving as MSA Secretary and the Eastern Region Vice Chair of the Trails Committee, where he helps to oversee inspection of the Interconnected Trail System. John has recently been named to the state of Maine Snowmobile Advisory Council. John puts a lot of miles on his snowmobile every winter, and has taken to visiting local snowmobile club meetings in his travels, promoting the sport and the MSA wherever he rides. Dave Foster, President of the Paul Bunyan Snowmobile Club, writes "John promotes by example the core values of the MSA of family fun and safety. John's positive attitude and friendly personality make him easy to work with, fun to be around, and one heck of a snowmobiler."
Groomer of the Year: Eugene "Gene" Gerry of Newfield
Groomer operator Eugene "Gene" Gerry was nominated by fellow members of the Route 11 Streakers Snowmobile Club of the Limerick-Newfield area, who described him as a "humble man with a servant's heart" Gerry began his trail maintenance career in the 1960's, when he and his father began grooming snow trails using homemade drags created from chain link fencing and bed frames. Since then, he has been instrumental in the development of the local trail system, which currently consists of over 75 miles of groomed trail. Gerry works with area landowners to protect access, is known to carry a saw on his rides for impromptu trail maintenance, and spends hours grooming trail, at night, after a full day at his real job. Club members write "He has personally cleaned, hacked and groomed every trail we have for the unselfish enjoyment of the community."
The President's Award: Les Ames, South China
MSA President Jim White selected Leslie Ames of South China as recipient of the President's Award for 2014. Les has contributed his talents to organized snowmobiling for decades. He, wife Faith and family began snowmobiling in the 1970's. and Les soon became involved with clubs and the state association. Engineer, inventor, decorated veteran, family man, Les is a valued and admired member of the MSA. His thing is trails, and his work on the Interconnected Trail System has benefitted all riders. Les was chairman of the MSA Trails Committee for over a decade, working to establish criteria for the Interconnected Trail System, a system of ITS trail inspection, and a digitized trail map. For many years his home has been the point of distribution for ITS and Junction trail signage statewide. Les represents the MSA on the Sportsman/Forest Landowner Alliance of Maine, and is well known and respected by landowners and other user groups. Says White of Ames and his contemporaries in snowmobiling, they had "a vision and a can-do attitude that brought snowmobiling, the trail system and the MSA to where it is today."
Snowmobile Dealer of the Year: Moosehead Motorsports, Greenville Jct. Owners Jennie & Jon Gray
A full service Ski-doo snowmobile dealership, Moosehead Motorsports is "dedicated to the idea of making year round fun for our customers and having fun doing it." Owners Jennie and Jon Gray and staff were nominated for recognition by Mike Grass Jr, the Chairman of the MSA Trails Committee. "I have had personal experience this past year on 3 different occasions with the folks at Moosehead Motorsports", says Grass. "Each visit we were greeted promptly and politely and our problem or part was taken care of." The dealership supports the local Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club and is active in the community of Greenville. For a number of years they have participated in the Maine Snowmobile Association's annual snowmobile show. Located on ITS 86, the owners allow snowmobilers to park right at the dealership if they wish to access the Greenville trails.
Supporting Business of the Year: Shin Pond Village of Mount Chase. Owners Craig & Terry Hill
Terry and Craig Hill, owners of Shin Pond Village, were nominated for recognition by MSA Eastern Region Vice President Eileen Lafland. She writes "Terry and Craig make everyone who enters their store feel welcome from the start" and "go out of their way to make sure everyone has a wonderful experience in their area." Located in the Northern Katahdin Region near Baxter Park, Shin Pond Village offers lodging, a restaurant and store that serves thousands of snowmobilers every winter. Active members of the Shin Pond-Bowlin-Matagamon Snowmobile Club, they are involved in grooming area trails, always available to riders for inquiries about trail conditions, and host a web cam so riders can have a first hand view of snow depth. They have worked with area landowners to retain trail access, and Terry currently serves on the state Snowmobile Advisory Council.
Snowmobile Program Report Presented
The Report of the Internal Review of the Snowmobile Program by Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, was presented to the Legislature's ACF Committee in early January. This study was initiated as a result of legislation introduced by the MSA last winter. We believe that the report and recommendations will help increase transparency and equity within the program and help clubs statewide as we move forward. View the report.
Report of the Snowmobile Trail Funding Survey:
This is the report on the results of the Snowmobile Trail Grooming Funding Survey that was undertaken in the winter and spring of 2011 by Dr. Stephen Reiling of the University of Maine Orono in conjunction with the MSA Trails Committee. The study was funded as part of the MSA Trails Committee contract with the Department of Conservation this past season. There was a great response from clubs and municipal projects across the state, and the results are interesting reading - see what folks think here:Click here to view the report.
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