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Unhappy snowmobilers


Dear Editor, Snowmobilers in Little Burnt Bay and Embree are somewhat disgusted with the lack of service provided them by the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club. The Little Burnt Bay and Embree Snowmobile Trail Committee was formed in 2003 and had to become an incorporated body in order to obtain funding, necessary permits and get environmental assessments completed. Our committee secured funding from HRDC, Provincial Department of Tourism and Provincial Fisheries Crab Support Program in the amount of $52,000 plus raised money locally and received countless hours of volunteer work. The committee received letters of support from the town councils of Lewisporte, Embree and Little Burnt Bay. Also a welcoming letter (see below) was received from the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation stating that the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club had agreed and confirmed that they would expand their club's boundaries to include our area.

Dear Editor,

Snowmobilers in Little Burnt Bay and Embree are somewhat disgusted with the lack of service provided them by the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club.

The Little Burnt Bay and Embree Snowmobile Trail Committee was formed in 2003 and had to become an incorporated body in order to obtain funding, necessary permits and get environmental assessments completed. Our committee secured funding from HRDC, Provincial Department of Tourism and Provincial Fisheries Crab Support Program in the amount of $52,000 plus raised money locally and received countless hours of volunteer work. The committee received letters of support from the town councils of Lewisporte, Embree and Little Burnt Bay. Also a welcoming letter (see below) was received from the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation stating that the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club had agreed and confirmed that they would expand their club's boundaries to include our area.

The 22 km trail from Little Burnt Bay to Lewisporte was cleared in 2003 and have since then been groomed three times.

The first time in 2004, the trail was groomed halfway and traveled the remainder by muskeg without groomer. The operator at that time complained of high stumps and rough terrain. The following summer seven persons were hired through funding provided by the Provincial Fisheries Crab Support Program to cut around areas of concern and to remove stumps.

The second attempt to groom the trail was in 2005 and with very little snow was a total waste of money. There was very little snow in 2006 and no attempt was made to groom the trail.

In 2007 the trail was groomed all the way once. This trip however was premature due to poor snow conditions and mild weather at the time. This was done without consultation with our committee and done the day before our committee had arranged for a worker to travel the entire trail and to report back to our committee on conditions. Our plans were to inform the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club on conditions before any attempt to groom.

In the Notre Dame Snowmobile Clubs usual news spiel in The Pilot, we read that groomer operators reported too many alders and rough terrain for their reasons to discontinue grooming. The treasurer of the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club later informed me that there would never be any more grooming unless the people in our area purchased more trail stickers. My response to him was "Give us the product and you'll sell more trail passes."

This winter has had the best snow conditions in recent years and there has been no attempt to groom our trail.

When the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club was building the garage to house the groomer they ran out of money. They were not shy at that time in approaching our committee for a donation and this committee responded open heartedly and gave what money we had at that time which was $500. A lot of alders could have been cut with that but as we saw it then this was our groomer as well and not as we see it now, the property of a few. Also at that time the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club was seeking volunteers to train as groomer operators, I volunteered for training believing, that with over 40 years experience repairing and operating similar machinery, I would become an operator in short order. I've even volunteered to accompany the groomer operator on a trip to this area to see first hand their concerns but nothing seems to work.

It is this committee's opinion that community trails should take priority over side trails, cabin areas and roads that lead to nowhere. We ask, what is the reasoning for the groomer to travel to Mount Peyton twice a week and return the same route when most of the visitors there are from other areas and have purchased passes elsewhere. If one have seen Mount Peyton once it hasn't changed in memory or since my grandfather trapped the area in the early 1900s. We are sure that snowmobilers from outside this area would love to visit Embree and Little Burnt Bay. Most of our people are kind and friendly and love to snowmobile. Even though Lewisporte is the end of the industrial region and we don't have many large stores, supermarkets or gas pumps, we do have scenery and unlike Mount Peyton it changes. We support and spend most of our money in Lewisporte but we don't have to, Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor is looking better all the time.

This committee does not expect grooming twice a week, twice a year would be sufficient and only then with good snow conditions. Remember, the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation states that our trail is part of the Notre Dame Snowmobile Trail System.

Nelson Brenton

Chairperson

Little Burnt Bay and Embree

Snowmobile Trail Committee

Below is a copy of a letter President Kevin Sweetland of the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation addressed to Nelson Brenton on Aug. 19, 2003.

Attn: Mr. Nelson Brenton

The executive of the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation would like to welcome your area to the Federation under the umbrella of the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club.

The Notre Dame Snowmobile Club, a club in good standing with the federation, has agreed to expand the club's boundaries to take in trails that you will be cutting to connect to them - Stanhope to Embree (5.8 km) and then the Embree intersection to Little Burnt Bay.

With this being confirmed by the Notre Dame Snowmobile Club, we welcome your members to their club and also as a part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation. It is always great to see other organizations interested in what the federation is trying to do.

Regards,

Kevin Sweetland, President

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