Jo Mary Riders Monthly MSA Report – December 2012

by Pat Catell, Club Treasurer/Secretary

There were two topics I wanted to cover for the December issue – any trail updates or rerouting information and a little bit about the Jo Mary Groomer Guys. The local Chamber of Commerce is working on the area trail maps right now so I can provide more about the trails when the map is completed.

I know it is not polite to brag, but I believe the Katahdin Region has the best snowmobile trails in the state. This is in part due to the unbelievable scenery with mountains and lakes popping up at every turn, but it is mostly due to the fact that our groomers are very dedicated (more bragging). Collectively, I think the Jo Mary Groomers Phil Grass, Dave Silvia and Rick LeVasseur have close to forty years experience AND the three of them have the same objective which is to have the best maintained trails in the state. A groomer creeps along at about 7 mph and, depending on the route, a driver could be out riding all night long. Have you tried driving your car for any length of time at 7mph? You have to have a sense of focus and want to do a great job to drive these machines for so long at such a snail's pace.

I asked Phil "What is it about grooming that you like?" A big smile came across his face and he said "I just like doing it." "Anything else?" I asked. Phil says again, "I just like doing it". If you know Phil he gets right to the point.

Dave on the other hand elaborated a bit more saying "the most enjoyment I get from grooming is when you go out and make the trails look like a flat, smooth, white carpet and know that the trails will be in excellent shape for the next morning so riders will have that dream ride." All three groomers get a little riled up when they try hard to make the trail perfect and a "group of cowboys" come along and "tear up the trail before it has a chance to set up."

So far this season many of our members have given a donation with their membership and it does make a difference. The donation goes directly to paying club bills. We not only want to take care of our machines with regular maintenance and repairs, but as Dave pointed out "its very important to keep the equipment as good as possible – your life could depend on it!"

In January, I will tell you about some of the great local places for lunch and dinner if you are on our trails. If you spend all day riding, a hearty lunch keeps you going and a fine meal for dinner completes the day.

President's Comments

Finally, I told Rick LeVassuer, our club President, that I would "share the pen" with him if he didn't put a big zinger at the end – all in all he did fine, just a little tongue-in-cheek reference to Santa at the end:

Our bridge at Cooper Brook (on the 109 connector) was completely rebuilt on November 11 & 12. The old 40 foot bridge was built eleven years ago using a dozen old boom logs. It was in pretty sad shape so we decided it was time to do it over again. All of the old material was removed, the bridge abutments were removed and reset further back from the brook and a used 48 foot flatbed trailer was set in place as the foundation for the bridge.

We then placed 70 new pressure treated 6 x 6's across the trailer and “runways” were built from PT 2 x 6's. Some of the old boom logs were set in place as bumpers and new gravel approaches were constructed for access to the bridge. Total cost will be somewhere near $9000 but it should last for 15 – 20 years if all goes well.

Many thanks to members Phil Grass, Dave Silvia and Jason Campbell for two long days of labor (one full day in the rain!). And many thanks to Bion Tolman and his crew for all of the work that they did with the excavators and other invaluable equipment. These guys go over and above "the call of duty"!

The cost of the new bridge, excavation repairs to other sections of our trail and normal pre-season maintenance on our three groomers will have a significant cost attached to them. Last year we lost a full 10% of our grant due to lack of registrations statewide and this year we have been cut back 10% again to offset the deficit that exists within the snowmobile program.

As you can imagine it's getting tougher and tougher to make this thing work…….all of our expenses continue to go up yet our total reimbursement potential is going down. It's time for a reality check in the legislature.

If all goes well some type of legislation will be introduced for the upcoming session of the legislature by either the MSA or the Snowmobile Advisory Council or both. The snowmobiling community in Maine needs to come to grips with the fact that we, the clubs of Maine, cannot continue to provide quality riding at rates of reimbursement that are outdated by at least 15 years.

The number of active club volunteers continues to diminish, overall membership in the clubs is going down every year, and the monetary compensation levels available to clubs for trail work and grooming are half of what they should be.

Yet the State continues to promote Maine as a winter Snowmobiling destination in national magazines. The State is the biggest benefactor of all of the efforts put forth by the clubs of Maine yet the State and the people who "run" it are reluctant to allow positive change to occur. Maybe Santa will bring us something nice (like a registration fee increase) for Christmas!!

And on that note, have a Wonderful Holiday Season!! – Rick LeVasseur, Club President.

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