Snowmobile group hopes upgrades will increase membership
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.
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.