Keeping Snowmobiling Alive — Volunteers!
Volunteers are the life blood of our organization; keeping our sport alive. In Michigan we have 100 recognized snowmobile clubs divided up into Councils, and three regions making up the Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA).
The American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) is the umbrella organization, covering most snowmobile states in the U.S. A few states have chosen to not be a part of ACSA, but still benefit greatly from what ACSA does. With few exceptions, all of the above mentioned organizations are made up of volunteers.
In Michigan our volunteers (I’m happy to say) are among the best of the best. As I travel to various regional, national, and international events, I’ve witness Michigan’s individual participation. This participation is more than any other state. Your Michigan delegation is considered a leader and a go-to organization for its opinion or recommendations.
Local level clubs, made up of volunteers, are the base foundation for everything our state organization works for. These volunteers are by far the most important element of our structure. To all our volunteers, I can’t thank you enough, Thank You — Thank You! Volunteerism is the most important factor in keeping snowmobiling alive.
Anti Motor-Vehicle, Off-Road Usage Groups
Yes, the anti-groups are still around and apparently getting stronger. These groups use every means they can to curtail or stop motor vehicles, which in our case is recreational snowmobiling. Antis are venomously opposed to any off- road motor vehicles using forest trails. Some of these anti-groups are even supported from outside the U.S., and surprisingly enough from many large domestic corporations and organizations.
One only has to look at what recently happened in Idaho to understand what a negative impact a court ruling could have on our sport. As individuals or as a group at all levels — local, state, nationally, and internationally — all of us need to keep being vigilant.
Your Financial Support
Last season was a very good one for snowmobiling. The average snowmobiler rode 30 percent more. We had record snow fall for prolong periods of time, and trails were open for weeks straight. Trail permit sales were also up a little compared to last year. Everything from a snowmobiling point of view was good, except for some places in the Upper Peninsula where sled traffic was lower than normal because many decided to stay in our Lower Peninsula.
As good as the season was, your MSA organization ended with a financial short fall. Our membership going into last year appeared to be on an uptick because of new incoming members. At events new members were joining, but in the end more current members were not coming back.
Our snowmobile manufactures no longer supply sleds for a super raffle. We no longer have a truck raffle, and several other things we’ve used in to raise revenue just aren’t as effective as they have been in the past. Karen has been working on other ways to raise funding, including the Daily Four drawing and 50/50 sales. Also, events such as our snow show in Martin have not been bringing in as much as they have in the past.
Last season MSA had four legislative rides. All were very successful, and without a doubt the best we’ve ever had. Legislative rides are very important, and if at all possible MSA must continue to have them. However, our legislative rides have become very expensive, and we cannot continue to support them the same as we did last year. We must come up with a better way.
Of course there were several other factors contributing to this short fall. A team was put together consisting of your current officers, three past presidents, and MSA’s office staff to address this short fall. This team met in Gaylord on Aug. 4 and on a telephone conference call the following week. A special Board of Directors meeting was held on Oct. 4, bringing your board up to date. This year’s budget has