MSA News & Snowmobiling Issues
Posted:See you at the Maine Snowmobile Show!
See you at the Maine Snowmobile Show! October 16-18
Coalition asks Roxanne Quimby to abandon national park plans
127th Maine Legislature - How snowmobilers fared (updated 9-15)
MSA Presents Annual Awards
Snowmobile Program Report Presented
Winter arrives early at the Augusta Civic Center, October 16th through 18th when the Maine Snowmobile Show brings "everything snowmobiling" back to town. The exhibit hall will be full of sleds and gear, trailers and accessories. You can view an extensive display of vintage sleds - attend the annual trails workshop on Saturday morning - pick up this season's trail maps, a new vest or helmet, check out some riding destinations, kick the tires on a lot of great new sleds and talk snowmobiling with people who know a lot about Maine trails.
Show hours are Friday from 4-9p.m., Saturday 9a.m.-8p.m. and Sunday 9a.m.-3p.m. Tickets are $7, children under the age of 12 are admitted for free. So grab your spouses, kids and cousins, riding buddies and snowmobile club friends and come to the show. It may not really be snowing inside the Civic Center, but if you tilt your head just right you may see an early flurry in your imagination's eye.
We'll see you there! Just take Exit 112 off I-95 - and there's plenty of free parking.
The Maine Snowmobile Show is produced by the MSA and sponsored by CharlieŐs Motor Mall. Admission proceeds benefit the MSA.
Coalition asks Roxanne Quimby to abandon national park plans
Enough Already! After years of promotion and empty promises, residents of the Katahdin Area have said a resounding "NO!" to a national park in their backyard. It's time to move on and work towards real economic progress in rural Maine. Click the links to read the most recent press release and a letter to Roxanne Quimby and Lucas St Clair.
Coalition Press release, Letter to Quimby and St Clair
127th Maine Legislature - How snowmobilers fared
Here's how we ended up: (Updated 9-15)
LD-88, An Act To Authorize Snowmobile Registration Reciprocity with the Provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec, sponsored by Rep. Roland "Danny" Martin of Sinclair, was passed and became law without the Governor's signature. This bill extended the 3-day "free" weekend Maine currently has with New Hampshire and Vermont to the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick provided they offer the same accommodation to Maine. There are some technical issues regarding incompatible provincial laws, but the MSA and the Dept. IF&W will be reaching out to the provinces and will keep riders informed on progress toward this. The MSA supported this bill.
LD-561, An Act To Recognize the Registrations of Snowmobiles and All-terrain Vehicles Owned by Residents of a State That Borders Maine, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Peterson of Rumford and LD-723, An Act To Allow Reciprocal Recognition of New Hampshire and Maine Snowmobile Registrations, sponsored by Sen. David Woodsome of York County were both unanimously rejected by the IF&W Committee and are dead. Both of these bills proposed to reinstate registration reciprocity with New Hampshire residents. The MSA opposed both bills.
LD-716, An Act To Amend the Fees for Snowmobile Registration, sponsored by Rep. Steve Stanley of Medway, was passed and vetoed by Governor LePage. The veto was overridden, and as it was emergency legislation, it went into effect immediately. The MSA originally took no position on this bill, preferring to support LD-1056 (see below). The MSA switched their position to support following the IF&W Committee's decision to make LD-716 their bill of choice to address funding issues.
This bill became a comprehensive package of changes in snowmobile registrations. Those changes are:
It increases the resident snowmobile registration fee from $40 to $45 and dedicates the $5 increase to the Snowmobile Trail Fund.
It increases the 3-day nonresident snowmobile registration fee from $43 to $49 and dedicates the $6 increase to the Snowmobile Trail Fund.
It increases the nonresident seasonal snowmobile registration fee from $88 to $99 and dedicates the $11 increase to the Snowmobile Trail Fund.
It creates a 10-day nonresident snowmobile registration fee and sets the fee at $75.
It directs the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create the Snowmobile Trail Fund Donation Sticker Program and to create donation stickers to reflect a donorŐs donation of $25, $50 and $100, respectively, of which $2 is retained by the department and the remainder is transferred to the Snowmobile Trail Fund. The donation stickers are not a part of or associated with the StateŐs snowmobile registration requirements.
It directs the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to develop written policies specifying the criteria the department will us to distribute additional revenues raised pursuant to this amendment to snowmobile clubs and to submit those policies for review to the IF&W Committee no later than January 15, 2016.
LD-1056, An Act To Improve Snowmobiling in Maine, sponsored by Rep. Steve Wood of Sabattus, proposed a $15 snowmobile trail fund sticker that could be purchased for each snowmobile registered in the State, the proceeds of which were to be transferred to the Snowmobile Trail Fund. When the IF&W Committee chose to focus their attention on LD-716, they amended LD-1056 to reinstate the sales tax exemption on sleds purchased in Maine by non-residents that was repealed during the 125th Legislature. This was a controversial move, and although it received unanimous support from the Committee, it was later indefinitely postponed in the House and is now dead.
LD-1411, An Act To Amend the Tax Laws, sponsored by Sen. Earle McCormick of Kennebec County, was the Bureau of Revenue Services'bill to correct what they perceive as corrections and clarifications that need to be made in the tax laws. One of the provisions this year dealt with the collection of sales and use tax of snowmobiles purchased in Maine by non-residents. The MSA opposed this provision, as it could have created a situation where non-residents registering in Maine could have possibly been responsible to pay a use tax on their sled even if it was not purchased in Maine. The MSA opposed this provision and with the help of Rep. Mike Shaw, House Chair of the IF&W Committee, Sen. Paul Davis (an MSA Past-President) and House Taxation Committee Chair Rep. Adam Good negotiated amended language that essentially maintained the status quo on non-resident sales tax requirements. This bill was passed and became law without the GovernorŐs signature.
LD-1435, An Act Regarding Ethanol-free Motor Fuel, sponsored on behalf of the Governor by Rep. Beth O'Connor of Berwick. This bill was supported by the MSA and states that a motor fuel distributor, franchisor or refiner may not impose any condition, restriction, agreement or understanding that prohibits or limits the sale, resale, transfer or purchase of conventional, ethanol-free motor fuel products in the State. While there are still questions of supply, this could open the door for the sale of ethanol-free fuel in Maine.
Special thanks is due to MSA members who worked hard contacting their legislators and keeping them informed on what was important during this session. No snowmobile bills were held over for the second session of the 126th Legislature, although emergency measures may be introduced at the Governor's request or by approval by the Legislative Council. We'll be updating members as the session draws near, and members are encouraged to sign up for the MSA's e-mail alert system for breaking information on issues important to snowmobilers. - Bob Meyers
Maine Snowmobile Association Presents Annual Recognitions
The Maine Snowmobile Association recently recognized a number of snowmobile club volunteers and friends of Maine snowmobiling at the association Annual Meeting held April 11, 2015 at the Pine Tree Camp in Rome. Honorees for the 2014-2015 winter snowmobile season are:
Snowmobile Club of the Year: Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club of Greenville
The members of the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club have met some significant challenges during the past two seasons, and have come together to work through each situation. In the spring of 2013, the Town of Greenville learned that the contractor who had been maintaining area trails would no longer be grooming. The club and the town manager pulled together and developed a path to a solution. They raised money, involved local businesses, bought equipment, lined up groomer operators, and even made some significant improvements to the trail system. The next season a different kind of disaster struck. The club lost a critical section of ITS-85 when a landowner changed their mind about allowing access. Again the club members stepped up, and working with the town and IF&W's Landowner Relations Director found a solution to get through the winter. In addition the club continues to maintain their welcoming clubhouse, and hosts a number of family oriented club events and the annual Memorial Ride dedicated to the B-52 crash on Elephant Mountain in 1963. Upon presentation of the award, MSA Executive Director Bob Meyers said "These folks really have it together, and demonstrate what a club can achieve."
Snowmobiler of the Year: Maurice Marden of Dover-Foxcroft
A member of the Piscataquis Valley Snowmobile Club, Maurice Marden has served the association as a Regional Director, a Nominating Committee member, and as Chair of the MSA Trails Committee. An advocate for the Maine snowmobiler, he currently serves on the state Snowmobile Advisory Committee. At the club level, Marden has been involved in grooming, trail signing, bridge maintenance and obtaining landowner permission for access. In addition, he loves to ride snowmobiles and spreads his enthusiasm for snowmobiling with family, friends and all who he encounters on the trails. He was described by MSA President Jim White as a true ambassador for the sport of snowmobiling. "Whether it's a conversation at a restaurant or gas station, or helping someone who is stuck or dealing with a mechanical issue on the trail, this person will do whatever is needed to make anybody's snowmobiling experience an enjoyable one."
Groomer of the Year: David Silvia of Medway
A dozen snowmobilers who ride trails maintained by groomer David Silvia took the time to send in his nomination for snowmobiler of the year. "Excellent", "perfect", "well groomed" were terms commonly found throughout. A member of the Jo Mary Riders Snowmobile Club, Silvia has groomed trails in the Katahdin Region for the past twelve years, grooming 3-4 times a week, a run that takes 10-12 hours to complete. He is also "meticulous" about his maintenance responsibilities. Silvia also serves as the club trailmaster, involved in preseason trail work and trail signage. Club member Laurie Godin writes "As I ride through these beautifully groomed trails I find inspiration ... Dave Silvia will have helped to contribute to making it as safe and enjoyable as possible."
Snowmobile Dealer of the Year: White Rock Outboard of Gorham, Owners George & Brenda Gherardi, Sally & Tim Hatch
Established in 1969, this family business sells and services boats, outboards, snowblowers, ATVs and of course, snowmobiles. Beginning with the Snow Prince brand, they first transitioned to Moto-Ski and more recently to the Arctic Cat line that they sell today. A Supporting Business member of the Ossipee Mountaineers SC, White Rock Outboard has provided the club with a snowmobile under flexible and generous terms for their Big Raffle for several years. The owners also donate to many other local service entities; Special Olympics, the Gorham boys and girls youth baseball, and Windham youth soccer are a few of the organizations that benefit from their generosity. After 40+ years in the business, the Gherardis plan to retire in the near future, passing the dealership on to their daughter Sally and son-in-law Tim.
Supporting Business of the Year: Wildwoods Trailside Cabins, Lodge & Restaurant of Brownville. Owner Cheri Brackett
Cheri Brackett and her son Chris, the owners of Wildwoods Trailside Cabins, Lodge & Restaurant, were nominated for recognition by MSA Trails Committee Chair Mike Grass. Grass notes that the business is a prime travel destination for riders in the greater Greenville, Millinocket, Alton and Dover-Foxcroft area. Wildwoods is located near the shores of Schoodic Lake on the Beech Ridge Trail maintained by the Brownville Snowmobile Club, offering cabins, fuel and food to snowmobilers enjoying area trails. A Supporting Business Member of the Brownville club, Wildwoods hosts an annual fundraiser to purchase required insurance for an important railroad crossing in the club's trail system. Additionally, a 1989 Tucker groomer calls Wildwoods home. The business was responsible for the acquisition of the equipment, which it continues to maintain and operate for the benefit of riders.
The President's Award: Aleta Rioux of Hebron
MSA President Jim White selected Aleta Rioux of Hebron, the current MSA Hospitality Chair, to receive the annual President's Award. During her years of volunteerism with the MSA, Rioux has served as MSA President, Executive Vice President and Regional Vice President. She is currently a representative to the DACF-Recreational Trails Grant Program. As chair of the nominating committee she has worked to attract members with fresh ideas and a willingness to donate time and energy to the MSA and is the driving force behind the MSA annual fundraising raffle. In 2004 she represented the state of Maine in the Polaris Way Out Women Ride to benefit Breast Cancer Research.
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.
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