Bernardston Gill Leyden: Snowmobile Club of the Year Award
Published on May 1, 2014 in Awards, News & Updates
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There are many ways to measure a club’s success. A steady increase in membership is certainly one of them. But that doesn’t happen by chance.

The Bernardston Gill Leyden Snowmobile Club realized some time ago that in order to succeed they had to run more like a business and less like a social club. Setting goals and producing a quality product – the trails – are a key ingredient. They also understood that a club is only as strong as the state association. Active participation in the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts is paramount.

They do all the things that other great clubs do. Their impressive trail system is well maintained, their relationships with landowners is built through trust. They actively participate within the community, building vital relationships and respect. All the important people in town hall know who they are.

What elevates this club above and beyond is their understanding of the big picture. They are true leaders in our organization and set an example of what can be done. They bring solutions to the table.

The club sets a high bar in communications, sharing information online, in social media and in our magazine.

They are major players in the Sled Expo and have hosted a SAM vintage ride.

They have a positive working relation with Fisheries and Wildlife and other land managers.

They are leaders in several SAM posts, including our charity and youth programs, as well as the executive committee.

And finally, they have been the driving force behind SAM’s most recent land conservation partnership and trail protection agreement. Something that every club needs to emulate.

It is SAM’s great pleasure to present the honor of club of the year to the Bernardston Gill Leyden Snowmobile Club

Details from the nomination:

Serve and lead on SAM committees

Regularly submit articles to SAM’s magazine.

Continued participation and volunteering for SAM events including ISC 2012 and the annual Sled Expo at the Big E.

BGL promotes SAM and snowmobiling by with monthly meeting and by maintaining an active Facebook page, active club emailing list and a website. BGL keeps its members notified of all club and SAM activities.

Charity work: Club members work with the local Marine Corp jointly with the Toys for Tots program. We are constant supporters of Camp SnoMo and support the local Bernardston Vets Club.

BGL promotes Snowmobiling by providing assistance to winter events in town including the Bernardston Kiwanis annual winter party, giving rides to the sledders back up the sliding hill and rides. We also participated in the Bernardston 250th anniversary parade.

We are in touch and work closely with local police and fire department to keep those them notified of issues and concerns. We supply them with active contact information in case of any accident or emergencies on the trails and have updated copies of our trail system so that we can be of assistance.

When have club ride-ins and “get togethers” on our trail system, we maintain a fire pit with a pavillion, out-house and have fire starters and wood ready to go throughout the season.

Bernardston Gill Leyden: Snowmobile Club groomer

Special Projects: We have a working relationship with the Department of Fish and Game and hold one of the first and few active permits to maintain a trail on the department’s land.

We currently have 2 RTP grant applications for groomer upgrades and a major bridge replacement.

Community Service: Our clubs fundraisers are not just for snowmobilers. Our annual golf tournament consistently sells out and our annual swap meet is geared towards all power-sports. At our swap meet we are supported by dealers. Its one of the few swap meets where you can usually register your sled in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. It also usually hosts a vintage sled show.

Members of BGL participant in the emergency support trip to the South Shore a few years back, with our mini truck groomer, to help out with blizzard damage.

Our trails are used by the local horse riding community, which includes land owners and a horse boarding farm. Our trails are frequently used by hikers, hunters, mountain bikers, snow shoers and cross country skiers and the use in this way is promoted by our club.

We are active with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) in Greenfield, helping them set up contacts for emergency preparedness, planning and posted signs in Leyden to help inform other trail users, such as hikers, about the dangers of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus.

In the past few years our club has done major upgrading of groomers, from member owned regular sleds, to club-purchased widetrack Skandics and Bearcats. The addition of one of the first mini-truck groomers in the state has several other clubs asking how we built it at a fraction of the price of a similar size unit, like a Kabota, at less than half the price.

In order to accommodate larger groomers our trail system infrastructure is going through improvements with wider trails and better bridges. We maintain over 60 miles of trails that connect to and from other clubs, over the Connecticut River and Interstate 91, allowing access to Vermont. Having trail-head parking just minutes from I-91, we’ve had many members from points south in Massachusetts and Connecticut. There are multiple points for gas, food and even lodging.

Want to nominate someone for the SAM Annual Awards? You can submit a nomination anytime during the year.


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