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Snomo trail grooming

impacts entire economy

Now that the winter recreation season has kicked into full gear, it is time for business owners in communities across the North Woods to invest in the future — to commit funds that will help nonprofit organizations with the costs of repairing, rerouting and grooming snowmobile trails for the winter recreation season.


Decent snow levels finally arrived last week in what has to be the slowest start to the snowmobiling season since extensive trail systems were first developed in the 1970s.


Though you might think the opposite is true, low-snow winters are extremely tough on snowmobile trail grooming organizations because they aren’t getting the mileage revenue necessary to cover fixed expenses, including payments on equipment.


Too many businesses don’t even bother to respond to solicitations from snowmobile clubs that are looking for funds to support the grooming operations. Believe it or not, some business owners think they don’t reap any benefits from winter tourism that is sparked by the enormous, well-groomed snowmobile trail network in this area.


The truth be told, almost every business in northern Wisconsin benefits directly or indirectly because of the trail grooming. The money spent by snowmobilers in winter boosts the entire economy, giving those businesses and employees directly affected more money to spend in the community, where it changes hands over and over.


If your business is not located on a snowmobile trail or does not provide goods and services to the snowmobile industry, it doesn’t mean you’re not helped. Some will donate more than others, of course, but we think it’s important to note that donations would not have to be extremely burdensome if all businesses would kick in something.

Great sledding trails

a privilege, not a right

While snowmobile trail officials are working hard to keep safe and well-designed systems intact, enduring everything from fundraisers to changes in private ownership and public forest policies, those efforts can be thwarted by snowmobilers who don’t follow the rules.


Sledders have proven in some cases to be their own worst enemy, especially when they veer off trails, damage property and downright annoy the very landowners who have generously provided easements across their land.


The sign we’d like to see erected on every trail segment is one that reminds snowmobilers that the trail on which they are riding represents a privilege, not a right. It is a privilege that requires respect for private property, public resources and volunteer trail officials.


We tip our caps to the dedicated, hard-working volunteers who have taken the time to brush, sign, relocate, inspect and otherwise prepare the trails for grooming.


Lest anyone forget, it is the snowmobiling industry that continues to fuel a year-round economy in a land that was once a ghost town in winter.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 4:48 PM

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