Will This Be The Future of Snowmobiling? (Mark Kenyon)
Published on Sunday, September 27, 2015 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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Closed trails. Will this be the future of snowmobiling?

Although there is some humor in the picture, this in fact may happen someday. Why? Because of a lack of volunteers! We are not the only club with this problem, and our recreation is not the only one in this predicament.

Nevermind having groomed trails, someday there may not be any trails at all. Someday clubs may be a thing of the past that people will talk about, remembering back in the good old days.

In my club the same group of volunteers that prepare the trails and bridges for the upcoming riding season also repair the groomers, and volunteer to run events. They volunteer to do anything and everything that comes up unexpectedly. Some of our volunteers even have taken money out of their own pockets to pay their employees to work on trails and work on groomers.

Our current group of volunteers do a great job, but they are getting older each year. Back problems and other ailments are taking their toll. Currently there are very few, and I might be able to say, no younger people stepping up to the plate to take over. At least not in our club.

I hear the same thing from many people, “I have a full-time job,” “I have a family,” or “I have other commitments.” Well, guess what? The current volunteers are in the same boat. The only difference is that one of their commitments is volunteering for the club.

Chances are this article may inspire a couple of people to volunteer, but what if no one steps up to the plate? If in time, there are no additional volunteers, you may see less events, less trail work, less grooming. And unfortunately, in time, you may see snowmobiling die out in the state of Massachusetts.

If people do not step up to volunteer, the only other possible solution to maintaining a trail system would be to pay someone do do the work. This would mean that trail pass costs would have to increase dramatically. Nobody wants that, but nobody wants to volunteer either.

The future of snowmobiling in Massachusetts is up to each and every one of you. If you don’t volunteer, who will?

Mark Kenyon is the treasurer of the Berkshire Snow Seekers and a longtime snowmobile volunteer and advocate.

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