WHY SHOULD I JOIN A SNOWMOBILING CLUB?
Under the State of New
Hampshire's snowmobile registration policy, members of snowmobile clubs
receive a $30 discount when they register their sleds. As was the
intention of this rule change, all clubs are attracting additional
interest. However, many new (and some existing) members do not have a
clear understanding of the clubs' functions or the State's roll in
maintaining the NH trail system.
Let us explain what the Mount Major Snowmobile Club does (and does not do). Mostly, we create and/or maintain the trails. Over the last several years our efforts went primarily into expanding and improving Alton's snowmobile trail system. This is also where members' donations, State grants, and the majority of dues are being spent. Based upon our Membership Application's survey questions, better trails (as opposed to club functions like Poker Runs, etc.) are what members are most interested in.
Like the vast majority of snowmobile trails in NH, the ones in Alton are not maintained by the State! It is the club volunteers that negotiate with private (and public) land owners for permission to snowmobile on across their property. It is also these volunteers that labor during the fall to clean and brush those trails. And finally, it is club volunteers that groom the trails. None of this work is paid for, it is a 100% volunteer effort. They do not even get reimbursed for sharpening their saw chains or the fuel they consume in lending their personal equipment to the cause.
What is all that trail money used for? Well for our club, it has been for purchasing groomers, renting excavating equipment to remove rocks from some of the worst trail sections, buying bridge materials, and paying for groomer fuel and maintenance.
Consequently, it's discouraging to hear from riders that "I paid $25 to join the club, plus registration, so the trails should be better..." Well, we can tell you that if it were not for the volunteers, it would take more like $250+ (from every member in NH) just to retain the quality of trail system NH already has! So, anyone looking for improved and expanded trails (anywhere in the State) should do more than mail in $25 – and gripe. We need volunteers willing to go out and knock on landowners' doors. We also want trail clearing volunteers that actually show up. At too many planned outings, only a few of the same members arrive!
Please realize that unlike Pittsburg, where snowmobiling is such a vital part of their economy that they can hire full time groomer operators, our volunteers have day jobs. They then give up some of the best riding nights, and weekend days, to groom the trails. This means that our trails will not necessarily be all groomed within two hours after the next storm ends. Note: We do get requests to "drive our groomers" but none to help maintain the equipment, which is the real chore! We do not allow anyone to run the drags who is not likewise responsible for getting unstuck or repairing their rig.
DO I NEED TO JOIN A CLUB TO RIDE IN NH?
No, but it will save you money on your registration and help to support the creation, maintenance, and grooming of the trails and bridges you plan to ride on. See above question!