Im­prove­ments

Snow­mo­bile group hopes up­grades will in­crease mem­ber­ship

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - BY FRANK GALE fgale@thewest­ern­star.com Twit­ter: @WS_FrankGale

With the decks on five bridges on their trails re­done and a new groomer on the way, the Bay St. Ge­orge Snow­mo­bile/ ATV As­so­ci­a­tion is just wait­ing for one in­gre­di­ent for a good sea­son — snow.

As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Craig Ma­son made the com­ment fol­low­ing him and five other volunteers from the group com­plet­ing new deck­ing on a bridge in Noel’s Pond on Satur­day.

He said the old deck­ing was worn and nails were stick­ing up, mak­ing it dan­ger­ous for all- ter­rain ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors and caus­ing prob­lems for their groomer.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s new Pin­roth Husky Tier 4 groomer is ex­pected to ar­rive on Nov. 25 and will be used to groom the as­so­ci­a­tion’s trails, which run from Gal­lants to Kip­pens and Stephenville Cross­ing to Fish- cell’s Bridge.

Ma­son said they started ex­pand­ing their trail sys­tem last year, and this new groomer will help keep the trails ready for use.

He said the pre­vi­ous 10hour run should be cut down to seven to eight hours on a ma­chine that’s more pow­er­ful, yet has much lower emis­sions and burns less fuel.

The groomer is equipped with a front bull­dozer blade and a drag in the back that can have cut­ters at­tached to it, of which there are three such at­tach­ments across the prov­ince that can be swapped out as need be.

Last year the Bay St. Ge­orge as­so­ci­a­tion had 900 mem­bers, and Ma­son said they hope to bump that mem­ber­ship to more than 1,000 this year. He be­lieves the bridge up­grades and new groomer will be an en­tice­ment to­ward that end.

“Selling trail passes equates to groom­ing hours, so the more mem­bers, the more of­ten we can groom the trails,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to lo­cal mem­bers, a lot of peo­ple from other parts of the prov­ince — in­clud­ing the east coast — use the Bay St. Ge­orge trails, es­pe­cially for ac­cess to Lewis Hills.

The lo­cal as­so­ci­a­tion is af­fil­i­ated with the New­found­land and Labrador Snow­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion, which helped in ac­quir­ing the groomer and the lum­ber to carry out the bridge up­grades.

FRANK GALE/THE WESTERN STAR

Volunteers with the Bay St. Ge­orge Snow­mo­bile/ATV As­so­ci­a­tion work at re­plac­ing the deck on a bridge in Noel’s Pond, the fifth bridge mem­bers have re­done the deck on in the past 12 months.

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