Snowmobile club pulls through tough winter
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | May 12, 2016
The weather this winter wasn’t exactly ideal for snowmobilers.
But somehow the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA) managed to bring in $435,000 in revenue, 78 per cent of which is attributed to permit sales. This is a decrease of $15,000 from last year.
“It was a difficult year to groom snowmobile trails,” said president Paul Gaudin during the organization’s annual general meeting at the Pinestone Resort May 7.
The club had to re-groom trails about eight times due lack of snow and mild temperatures, said Gaudin. Two pieces of equipment that broke down for an extended period of time added to their frustrations.
A total of 1,963 permits worth $339,000 were sold to 1,321 members. A permit is required to ride on the 370 km of groomed trails, which are maintained by the club’s volunteers.
Treasurer James McArthur called it a decent year, but not great. In some cases, sledders who held off buying permits for the trails opted not to buy at all.
“That’s probably the reason you would see a decrease in permit sales,” said McArthur, pointing out that 70 per cent of permit revenue went back to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC).
The club is a member of the OFSC, which is a not-for-profit association that “acts as the coordinating body for organized snowmobiling in the province.”
The club’s operating costs totalled $413,000. Of that, $44,000 was spent on improving the trails and $70,000 went toward grooming expenses. There was a surplus of $22,000.
The HCSA received two provincial grants totalling $100,000 to rebuild a damaged bridge on Trail 4. Located behind the Minden cemetery, the bridge was destroyed by the spring flood three years ago.
“It turned out nicely,” he said.
The project took three weeks to complete.
Other funds came from district revenue sharing and marketing, such as advertising sales in the trail guide and website.
Vice-president Joachim Matysek spoke of his vision for the future, highlighting the importance of using the Internet to keep the club’s membership informed.
“I want to see the club be a little more transparent with the membership,” said Matysek, explaining that not everyone can attend meetings.
Anyone interested in learning more about the HCSA can visit hcsa.ca.
Several of the club’s volunteers were in the spotlight for their commitment to making Haliburton County a great snowmobiling destination.
These volunteers repaired three bridges used by sledders. Director Elaine Dittrick presented certificates and pocket knives to those who were in attendance.
Dave Lloyd, a director with the club and Algonquin Highlands resident, was named the Volunteer of the Year.
“He has only been here for a couple of years, but has really raised our eyebrows,” said Dittrick.
Lloyd helped with a barbecue for Family Day and promoted the club. He brought his son and also recruited local students to assist with the event.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.