Snowmobile North Dakota roaring into new year
Related: Snowmobile ND president
knows giving reaps rewards
by Kent Brick
|This Red River South Trail is part of the 2,800 miles of groomed and marked snowmobile trails in North Dakota. (Snowmobile N.D. photo)
Ride with us!
2014 is a very special year for the snowmobiling community across North Dakota. This year, Snowmobile North Dakota (ND), the state organization contracted by the N.D. Parks and Recreation Department to manage the state snowmobile trail system and dedicated to supporting riders’ enjoyment, turns 40.
• Keri Wanner, Snowmobile ND executive director, says the organization came together 40 years ago, as a result of local snowmobile enthusiasts, landowners and legislators forging the beginning of a public snowmobile trails system. Today, snowmobile riders, clubs they have formed, and volunteerism to care for trails is still at the heart of snowmobile enjoyment in North Dakota.
• Snowmobile ND works with 36 snowmobile clubs across North Dakota. Members of these clubs, and other snowmobilers, enjoy 14 trail systems, with nearly 2,800 miles of groomed snowmobile trails.
• “We work with hundreds of volunteers from all over the state,” Wanner says. She points out that volunteers take responsibility for placing signs along the trail system routes, and for operating trail grooming equipment. The volunteers achieve state certification required for conducting these activities.
• Maintenance of the state snowmobile trails system is built upon excellent relationships with landowners, who lease access across property to facilitate the trails. Wanner says there are currently about 1,000 landowners who work with local clubs and Snowmobile ND to maintain long, continuous, trails.
“We wouldn’t be anywhere without our landowner relationships. We work with some amazing individuals,” Wanner says, adding many clubs hold landowner appreciation suppers each year.
• Another big achievement beginning this year is a collaboration between Snowmobile ND and the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association. A border crossing link joins North Dakota’s trail system to this Canadian sector; the crossing is north of Sherwood, leading up 15 miles to Carievale, Sask.
“We’re really excited because it opens the door for our snowmobilers to go up into Saskatchewan, and for thousands of Canadians to come down and enjoy what we have in North Dakota,” Wanner says.
• Education for safe and responsible snowmobile operation is a big priority for Snowmobile ND. The N.D. Parks and Recreation division provides a wide variety of snowmobile operator safety coursework, both in person and online.
• A valid drivers license is required for any snowmobile operator on the state trail system. Young people below drivers license age – who are a minimum of 12 years old – must complete an accredited youth snowmobile safety education program.
• Helmets are required of snowmobile operators under the age of 18. Wanner says snowmobilers readily incorporate the helmet into the protective, layered apparel choices which afford protection from wintry elements.
• All snowmobiles operated on public land must be registered. Snowmobile registration is handled by the N.D. Department of Transportation at any licensing office statewide.
• For snowmobile education information, go to: www.ridesafe.nd.gov. Safety videos can be viewed at: http://snowmobilend.org/snd-media/ or www.youtube.com/snowmobileNDtrails.
• Participate in a snowmobile photography competition in which Snowmobile ND participates. Go to www.slednsnap.com.
Upcoming snowmobiling events:
- Fifth Annual Pink Ribbon Riders ND Snow Run: Jan. 10-11 – Bottineau; benefit event resulting in financial support available to local breast cancer patients
- Beaver Valley Sno-Goers Banquet: Jan, 18 – Linton – Beaver Valley Sno-Goers
- Snowmobile ND State Ride: Feb. 8 – Walhalla – Hosted by Northeast Trail Association
- International Ride: Feb. 15 – Hosted by Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association and Snowmobile North Dakota
- SnowJam: Feb. 15 – Mapleton – Hosted by Rural Cass Snowmobile Club
For more information, contact:
Keri Wanner, executive director
Snowmobile North Dakota