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Opposes proposed snowmobile trail-use fee PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

I am in full disagreement with the News-Review with regard to Assembly Bill 407 (snowmobile trail-use fee). This bill would destroy what is left of snowmobiling in these times of low employment and frequent loss of snow cover.

I currently own and register two 1993 Polaris and two entry-level 1997 Arctic Cat snowmobiles costing $60 per year. They are used primarily to access a lake to reach an ice fishing location. Only rarely are they provided to visitors for trail rides. While a snowmobile trail exists on the lake, I?do not use it to reach the ice fishing shack. The access is from a lakeside home.

My response to this bill would be to stop registering at least two of the snowmobiles and to prohibit their use on any trails and thus not purchase any trail-use stickers. I would junk the Arctic Cats and seek counsel on whether I would need to register the two Polaris machines if used as stated.

My wife and I were members of a snowmobiling club for at least four years. I participated in a great deal of preseason trail preparation. The most exhaustive was a full day working with a county trail agent and two other club members as the agent went through more than eight chain saw blades cutting through roots of tree trunks in a marshy area not before used as a trail. The three of us pulled out trunks and tree limbs in preparing the new route.

I also handled trail map updates and advertising for two years. This involved searching through county records to assure that no properties had been sold, which would require new agreements with the club or alterations to the trail system. Advertisers were very slow in responding and often required seeking them out and making late changes to their ads.

My wife and I also handled a fundraiser selling parking for cars, trucks and trailers at an Eagle River lot for the last two days of the Derby. Help was promised each year, but on only two short occasions was provided. One club members was up in arms when he heard that one of the short-term workers was getting $20 from a business owner to work in his place. The club gained about $400 each of the four of five years that we worked. I quit the club in anger as many benefiting parties did little to nothing. It should be noted that this fundraiser was discontinued the next year.

I definitely would recommend newcomers to this area rent a snowmobile rather than buy and the businesses recoup the trail permit cost through their rental if AB 407 passes. I see no benefits to membership in a snowmobiling club, but do see value in the Lions, the chamber of commerce and any local church.

Ronald L. Johnson


Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:54 PM

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