Greetings All — I’m hopeful that everyone had a fun and relaxing summer, with friends and family, and that this letter finds you all in good health. As summer is fading and Fall is slowly approaching, many of us are still enjoying camping, biking and hiking, ORVs, kayaking, fishing, and many other outdoor activities that our great state of Michigan affords us. Let’s face it; we are all hardy sports fans of the out-of-doors and every one of us has to explain to non-snowmobilers the attraction that we have to our sport.
I remember when I first joined MSA. I was so excited that there were other people who were as excited about snowmobiling as I was. When the September issue of the Michigan Snowmobile News arrived in my mailbox each year, it kick started the unofficial snowmobiling season for me. I hope that you get as much pleasure reading each issue as much as I do. If you have any suggestions on future articles, or would like to contribute an article, please let us know! I think we have some great articles lined up for the season and our publication committee is excited to share them with you.
Winter Is Just Around the Corner
For me, September/October have always been a special time of year. These months promise us that the seasons do in fact change according to the master plan and that winter is just around the corner. The trails that we all enjoy during the other three seasons will soon be covered with a thick blanket of snow, which allows us to again enjoy the outdoors during the winter months.
Fall is also known of course for the great hunting opportunities in Michigan, and many are planning their excursions this time of year. This is just a prelude to what all of us snowmobilers are really looking forward to. There are also countless others who are just trying to finish those last minute outdoor projects or household chores before the cooler temps arrive and the leaf rakes come out again — keeping us busy piling leaves for a couple weeks.
Snowmobiling — A Year-Round Sport
My presidency began at the first of the year. I am still learning names and faces, and appreciating all of the dedicated individuals who make MSA such a great organization to be involved with. Many thanks to all those on the Executive Committees and Board of Directors who sacrifice their time and energy to attend our meetings throughout the year.
Snowmobiling is really a year-round sport for many who work tirelessly behind the scenes, so that most of us have great trails to ride each winter.
Here are just a few brief high lights of what you might have missed since we last got together …
- Executive director bi-monthly meetings to conduct and address MSA business matters.
- Board of directors bi-monthly meetings to conduct and address MSA business matters.
- MSA officers and Michigan State legislature meetings to discuss our present and future programs.
- ACSA Washington, D.C. annual Fly-In to meet with our U.S. Congressmen and promote our sport.
- Joint SAW/ORV meetings with Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to discuss trail coordination and access.
- Michigan DNR LEAN process meetings to manage snowmobiling program more efficiently.
- U.S. Forest Service meetings to discuss trail closures and access
- 49th Annual International Snowmobile Congress (ISC) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to represent MSA on an international and national level.
- Forest Management Advisory Committee meetings to discuss snowmobile access.
- Tourist Industry meetings to promote Michigan as a #1 premier snowmobile destination.
- Easement subcommittee meetings with various groups to expand and keep open our trails.
- Annual MSA Camp Out in June 2017; with good friends, great food, and fun for all!
A Very Busy Spring and Summer
As you can see, it’s been a busy spring and summer for many. Volunteers just like you have invested in MSA’s future by attending these important meetings, and it is much appreciated. Our MSA Executive Director Bill Manson and Office Manager Karen Middendorp and others have been coordinating all of these activities from the office and doing a great job. Besides attending many of these meetings themselves, the office also serves our members faithfully by managing phone calls and emails, our website, Facebook, newsletter, trail permit sales, special events organization, and countless other daily activities that I think we often take for granted. I just want to say a big THANK YOU from all of us, both regular members and committee members for what you do for us!
News from Lansing Isn’t Good!
As you may recall, several attempts have been made and were going to be made in Lansing to bring to light the challenges that we will be facing in the years to come regarding our trail maintenance, i.e. Groomer replacements, bridge construction, trail permit fees, etc. Earlier this season we presented (to state officials representing various agencies and offices) the budget forecasts for the next several years. We stressed the urgency for more funding — if we are to maintain our existing programs to keep Michigan a great destination for snowmobiling. As of this publication, we have not received the good news that we were hoping for. It seems that the only way we will be able to show a real need is to wait until conditions worsen and our tourism suffers.
I’m hoping that when and if we have our next MSA legislative and congressional rides, we can show those who can make a difference the reasons why we are asking the tough questions now, instead of when’s it’s too late.
Striving to be Good Stewarts
Trail permits this season will be the same price as last year, $48. Last season we asked those buying trail permits to “round-up” to $50, if possible when buying from MSA. The response was great — thank you! Our budget is lean and any contributions are greatly appreciated. Most of us attending those MSA functions that I listed earlier travel and stay at their own expense. We continue to strive to be good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted in us. I hope that most will see the value of their trail permit fee when compared to other sports and the overall expenses that are required for managing an adequate snowmobile program.
As summer is winding down, I guess we are all beginning to wonder as always what the winter will hold as far as snowfall totals go. I’m not putting any weight this year in predictions and forecasts, but of course I’ll take a peak and look at what they are predicting anyway. The last couple of years have been tough on most of us, and I’d sure like for old man winter to rethink things and let it snow! I continue to be hopeful that we all see a normal or above normal snowfall winter this year; for everyone’s sake. I certainly think that everyone who relies on snowmobiling economically and as a winter sport really needs a good shot in the arm this season!
Until we meet again, enjoy your great out-of-doors with friends and family and enjoy each chapter of the seasons as we get closer to our Winter Wonderland.