Those groomed snowmobile trails that Crow Wing County residents and visitors alike enjoy each winter don't just happen by accident. They are the product of an annual effort by the Crow Wing County Snowmobile Trail Association.
Last year the association raised $7,000 for trail maintenance and improved signs. The sign money helped establish a consistent and color-coded trail system throughout the Brainerd lakes area.
A good system of trails increases safety for both sledders and motorists. It keeps the snowmobilers away from congested motor traffic and provides them with access to some of the more beautiful areas in our wooded, winter wonderland.
The trail association is raising money again this year asking some of the businesses that benefit from the sport of snowmobiling to contribute. That would include a lot of businesses because snowmobiles and their owners have a huge impact on this area's winter economy. The trail association quotes DNR figures estimating the number of registered snowmobiles in the Brainerd lakes area at more than 10,000 with an additional 3,000 snowmobiles registered elsewhere but used primarily in the lakes area. When you add in the number of winter vacationers who come here for the snowmobiling the importance of snowmobiling quickly becomes evident.
The hard work of the snowmobile boosters is needed because the state of Minnesota provides only $181,000 of the total $600,000 that is necessary to groom and maintain the trails, the trail association reports. Area snowmobile clubs raise some money on their own but often fall short of the amount needed to do a good job.
Tax-deductible donations are currently being sought by the Crow Wing County Snowmobile Trail Association and a fund-raising dinner will be conducted from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Nisswa American Legion. Many businesses and individuals make a $250 donation to gain membership in the Silver Riders Club.
The six-week period in January and late December is probably the busiest snowmobiling time of the year. It will be a successful season if the Crow Wing County Snowmobile Trail Association is able to raise enough money to keep the trails in good shape.
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