Hello all Sunset Trail Rider members and OFSC Seasonal Trail Permit Holders,
The Rumours are true!
The rumours about our club putting one of our groomers through the ice on a swamp are correct.
Last Sunday, January 16th, 2011, while grooming “A” trail west approximately 5 km’s down the trail west of Shoal Lake Road, we had the unfortunate incident of going through a beaver dam and into a couple feet of water. After a week long effort we are proud to say that the groomer is out of the ice and is now being cleaned up, fluids changed and serviced so it can hit the trails once again.
We have a lot of people to thank who helped us with this endeavour including but not limited to Grant Arklie and Paul Scharf and their group who were sledding behind the groomer, and therefore the first on the scene, who lent considerable assistance last Sunday to helping come up with a plan to get the groomer out. Of course many of our volunteers and directors helped as well, with particular effort from Gerry Rummery, Don “Riggz” Riediger and Ken Bracken as well as several others.
It was the crew of Brian Prouty and Moncrief Construction however, who were instrumental with their professionalism in getting the drag and the groomer out and pulled back to the Shoal Lake Road. Without their help and expertise we would have been delayed much longer.
Getting the Trails Groomed
After the week long ordeal of getting the groomer working again, we now are refocusing our attention on getting the trails groomed.
But we need your help!
We all want to have groomed trails on the lakes and we need you to do your part. The Sunset Trail Riders have been on the radio, in the newspaper, on our website and through our newsletters asking people to pack both sides of the stakes, about 12’ on either side, in order to pack the trails down to drive down the frost to get the ice to form. Yet the word doesn’t seem to be getting out as time and again we see sleds in single file using the same track along the stakes.
We need 16” of blue ice to bring the groomer onto the lakes and although after this cold snap it’s hard to believe ice hasn’t been forming, we still have some ice to wait for. Regular ice testing is showing 14” on average but several spots are only 8” or so. With the groomer weighing in excess of 12,000 lbs ice is important. The average ½ ton weighs in at about 4,500 lbs. and therefore obviously needs less ice. We get the comments time and again that trucks are out, where are the groomers. If it were only that easy.
That is why packing the trails along the trail stakes are so important. As you could see from the above picture the groomer doesn’t float and also keep in mind the guy in the groomer is a volunteer. He is already giving his time to get the trails groomed but let’s not ask him to give his life as well.
At present, we have fourteen directors and about thirty additional club volunteers who spend countless hours working out on the trails. That means we have a limited number of volunteers and directors to look after approximately 650 km’s of trails which all need to be kept clear of obstacles, staked, signed and groomed.
We all love the sport and find it rewarding to put in over 4,000 volunteer hours each year as a club, but we never turn down assistance. We are always looking for more people to lessen the load and would love you to get involved. Many hands make light work and when you help you get the feeling of ownership in the trail with the added satisfaction of having the right to complain when things need to be addressed.
Our membership is what makes our trails happen and that means your assistance is required.