Happy Labor Day! (Take time to rest and relax)
Welcome to all who are reading the Keystone Snowmobiler (KS) for the first time. This is the twenty-seventh (27) year that Peggy and Henry Hartman have published this monthly snowmobile paper. Pictures and articles of events in your area are always welcome. Businesses are encouraged to place ads with the paper. Most businesses provide a discount to Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association (PSSA) members.
Pennsylvania has over 6000 miles of snowmobile trails on State, Private, Game Commission and Allegheny National Forest property. Approximately half of these trails are maintained and groomed by Snowmobile Club Members. Your Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association (PSSA) membership helps obtain grants and enables our Board to work to influence legislation which supports our sport. Our continued support of these very important activities needs your membership. Join on-line at www.pasnow.org The KS is also available on line. You can also make a donation to the Snow Angel Fund to help medically needy children on your application.
Our Association is a grass roots effort to keep in contact with local Representatives/Senators. They need to hear from each of us. Yes, we need a state-wide snowmobile program which is streamlined and reimburses clubs for their expenses. Clubs are composed of volunteers who give of their time and talents for the benefit of all of us. Many of our clubs have been doing this for over forty years. Most clubs conduct fundraisers and raise from approximately $4,000 -$20,000 annually. This money is used to buy equipment such as groomers and drags. This equipment can cost from $15,000 for a drag to $275,000 for a groomer. What an investment in outdoor recreation in the State. It is priceless!
We are “keeping an eye” on current legislation – HB 970 and SB 648. Accountability and Liability issues are a concern of everyone. Snowmobilers should benefit from what they worked long/hard and paid for to get the “Liquid Fuels Tax” passed. It was the snowmobilers who met, e- mailed and phoned representatives to push for this legislation. PSSA also paid the salary of the lobbyist who worked on this project.
SB 648 was recently passed by the legislature. This bill divides registration monies into two accounts based on the number of registered ATV’s and Snowmobiles. Some would argue that snowmobilers received more than their share of these monies. Although I do not have current data for this “restricted account “ I can say it was many years before snowmobile clubs received any funds for trail maintenance/grooming. I am currently attempting to obtain data concerning the use of restricted account funds and the “liquid fuels tax” money. SB 648 also changes the complexion of the State Advisory Committee. The liquid fuels tax monies remain untouched.
It is now the right time to advocate for an increase in the Snowmobile Registration Fee. Ten ($10) dollars does not buy much these days. As promised in the last “Moving Forward” article I will detail what other states are charging for registration, permits and trail fees.
New York – Registration Fee $45 – $100 for one year (clubs who belong to State Assoc. members pay $45 ) No Trail Pass (exceptions)
Michigan – Registration Fee $30 for three years Antiques $50 for Life Trail Permit – $48
Illinois – Registration Fee $30 for three years Trail Permit – $25
Ohio – Registration Fee $34.50 for three years
Quebec – Trail Permit $60 – 580 – depends on days/season/when bought
Pennsylvania – Registration Fee $20 for two years
We have been blessed by many volunteers from our clubs who have maintained over half the trails in Pennsylvania for over 45 years without charge. Most of these trails are open without cost to the public. The Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association (PSSA) Mini-grant Program does not cover all the costs of grooming and maintaining these trails. Costs are much higher than ever. Times have changed. Club and PSSA memberships have declined in the last ten years. We need every snowmobiler to help cover the costs of maintaining over 6000 miles of snowmobile trails.
PSSA is working on a proposal to increase the Registration Fee. It will have the potential to help clubs and put more dollars into trail maintenance and grooming across the state. We are working with elected officials to develop the correct wording for an appropriate presentation. I will keep you informed as we develop this proposal. It is only a proposal nothing is in final form. Suggestions are always welcome. Send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By the time you are reading this article Mr. Robert Kirchner, past President of PSSA and I have met with Secretary Dunn of DCNR on August 30, 2016. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss a possible Partnership Plan with PSSA and promote an increase in the current Registration Fee. A state-wide snowmobile program is needed.
Roger Auker and Committee are planning a larger Power Sport Show with more activities. This Show will be held at the Lebanon Expo Center the last weekend of October. You can once again register your son/daughter for the Safety Class on-line on our website. Also tickets are in the mail for the trailers and sled drawing. If you need tickets contact Kathy Woolever at the Palmyra office. Auction items and volunteers are also necessary. Vendors will be waiting for you. The Used Sled/ATV Corral will be organized by Henry and Peggy Hartman and their loyal volunteers. Contact Roger with your questions/suggestions, auction items and times you can volunteer.
As stated in an earlier article the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has established Focus Groups to discuss trail issues with various recreation groups. Snowmobilers are ready to help maintain the few snowmobile trails on Game Commission property. It is important for all snowmobilers to stay on the trail on all trails or stay home. These Focus Groups continue to meet.
PSSA Directors represent various regions of the state. If you have a suggestion, comment or issue please contact the nearest Director first. If not satisfied call me. I am always happy to speak with our members.
Remember to renew your PSSA membership on-line as soon as possible. Tickets for the trailers and snowmobile chanced off at the PowerSport Show are in the mail. Please return them promptly.
Liz Krug, President
Power Sport Show dates are Oct 28 – 30. Plan to be there.