1/25/2018 2:32:00 PM Longville Snowmobile Club seeking new members, local and seasonal
By Ally Garbe of Press-Citizen
The Longville Snowmobile Club entered it's 40th year in 2018, with it's official mark being October 10. It began with a membership of approximately eighteen people. Over the years, membership has grown to over 100 participants.
Darren Week, Club President, volunteers his time for what he's passionate about: snowmobiling, good trails and working with others like himself to keep a good thing rolling.
"About six years ago, I took over as President for Jerry Carpenter. I didn't want to see the Club end, and as one of the younger guys involved, I kind of fell into it," Week said. "Roy [Flohaug, Vice President] does a lot of behind the scenes work," he added.
There are currently about 120 members, but only 30 actively attend meetings and grooming trails.
The Club is active from September/October to April. They begin the season by clearing trails before deer hunting begins, and again to clean up after hunting seasons close. "It's all volunteer work: clearing trails, grooming, everything," Week mentioned.
Once enough snow falls, approximately 22 members of the Club groom trails Monday - Friday throughout winter. In order to run the groomer, members must be a part of MNUSA and be trained on the equipment.
Depending on which trail is being groomed, it can take 5-8 hours to complete. They work with other area Clubs to connect trail systems and make sure conditions are as consistent as possible. "Trail leads have been great," Week interjected.
The Club receives funding from the State for groomer fuel and maintenance but they are responsible for everything else.
Currently, the Club owns and operates a 2009 Tucker and a 1998 ASV to maintain over 100 miles of trails in about a 30 mile radius of Longville. "They're starting to get older, but with poor snow conditions over the last few years they haven't been run as much so they're still plugging along," Week said. "We'll have to start fund raising in the next few years in preparation of replacing things."
December 2017 marked the 20th Annual Snowmobile Banquet at Patrick's on Girl Lake, and for now, it's the last one. "That's not to say we won't have banquets in the future, we're just taking a hiatus right now. It can be hard to find help sometimes." Continued Week.
Currently, the average age of Club members is about 65 according to Week. "We need more younger people on board," he said.
Club meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month (Sept. - April) at 7 p.m. at the Longville Fire Hall. At the January meeting, 53 people attended for a pot luck dinner. According to Week, that's the highest meeting attendance they've seen since he took over as President - maybe longer.
Club participants include a lot of family units with a shared passion. Last year, the Club changed a section of trail near Sioux Camp Road. There were 22 volunteers, quite a few being husband + wife teams, cutting and clearing. "Right now it's a little bumpy, but it will get better with time and more snow," Week commented.
When a good snowstorm hits, club members will often get together and go out for a rip. Larry Gavin does monthly trail reports, and subscribers to MNUSA also receive monthly reports for a wider range. A yearly family membership to MNUSA is only $35, but those interested in joining the Longville Snowmobile Club are not required to be registered.
"For the most part, everything we do is just word of mouth. We are a part of Longville's Chamber of Commerce, though," Week said. "We're working on recruitment and getting ourselves out there more."
Volunteers from the Club have been present at local events, such as the Tree Lighting in November, and there will be Club presence at Ice Boccee on February 3rd.
If you reside in the Lakeland area or have a cabin and share passion for snowmobiling, consider joining the close community that is the Longville Snowmobile Club to help keep our trails active and fun to ride on!