MSA News & Snowmobiling Issues
Posted:Deadline for nominations
Award nomination deadline
Issues in the Sport
Trail sign changes
Snowmobile Program Report Presented
Snowmobile Trail funding survey
Your opportunity to help bring a smile to the faces of hard working Maine snowmobile club volunteers and supporters of the sport is happening now! The deadline for nominations for the MSA's annual snowmobiling awards program is February 28, 2015. Now is the time to get your thoughts organized around those people who you believe should receive public thanks and recognition for their efforts. The categories of recognition are: Snowmobile Dealer of the Year, MSA Supporting Business of the Year, Snowmobile Club of the Year, Snowmobiler of the Year and Groomer of the Year.
Nominations for any of the recognitions may be submitted by MSA clubs or individual MSA members. The nominees must be either MSA Family or Business Members for the current season.
You'll find the nomination forms on the association website. Follow the link to the 'For MSA Members' page. The forms are located in a drop down list on that page.
There's a bit more breathing room for the Maine Snowmobiler Photo Contest. The deadline is March 20. Email your pics to email@example.com or mail to: Maine Snowmobiler Photo Contest, PO Box 80, Augusta ME 04332. Include your name, address, MSA club and the location where the photo was taken. Remember, you must be a current MSA member to participate in the contest. Good luck!
Issues in the Sport
The 2014-15 season started off with frustration over what else – the weather. December and early January rocked back and forth between warm spells, meager snowfall in many areas of the state and even rain that turned many low-lying trails into watery messes. Fortunately a series of cold snaps locked up just about everything tight be the last week of January, just in time for a series of monster snowstorms that blew into the state. By the first of February just about every inch of Maine’s 14,500 miles was at the very least rideable and in most cases groomed.
Riders seem to have acted immediately on the pent-up demand. IF&W was reporting heavy traffic at registration agents, and there has been a tremendous amount of activity on the trail conditions page of the MSA web site mesnow.com. Conditions are updated on week days and all clubs are encouraged to share their conditions by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and club affiliation with your report.
Legislature. The 126th Maine Legislature began their work in early January. While committee work is just beginning, the list of bill titles was released in early January. Most of the media focus has been on Governor Paul LePage’s biennial budget, which proposes significant changes in tax policy and the funding of state and local government.
Fee increases will once again be a topic for the MSA with two bills submitted, one by Rep. Steve Stanley of Medway who sponsored a fee increase bill in the 126th Legislature. The other bill, An Act to Improve Snowmobiling in Maine, sponsored by Rep. Steve Wood of Sabattus, is a concept bill that will be a vehicle to explore multiple options in dealing with snowmobile funding and management issues. The MSA is working with Rep. Wood on the bill which will likely be heard in the early spring. In addition, the reciprocity issue will be addressed again with three bills looking at the issue. There are also bills on landowner relations, the ongoing merger of the Departments of Conservation and Agriculture, and taxes.
Once the Legislature is fully up to speed, there will probably be several other issues that will require attention. Members are encouraged to sign up for the e-mail alert list for up to the minute info on bills, hearings and the need to weigh in on issues. To sign up for the list, go to www.mesnow.com and click on the link for the alerts.
Trail Sign Changes
The State of Maine Snowmobile Program will be reducing the number of trail signs distributed to clubs this year. An announcement from the Program states:
"Most trails are on private land and this move is being made to cooperate with landowners, reduce the cost of trails, help the declining number of trail maintenance volunteers, and follow the International Guidelines for minimal snowmobile trail signing. Snowmobilers, you should ride the conditions you see ahead of you at all times, using caution and taking responsibility for your safety by driving at reasonable speeds for the conditions you see ahead. Join a club where you ride and help support the quality trails we all enjoy."
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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