End of season 2014/2015

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015 in Club News | Comments Off on End of season 2014/2015

 

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Claude Lafrance Geraldton VP and Jason Gignac Groomer operator and his daughter, Christmas parade 2014

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Frank Baillargeon of EF Heater welding up brush bar on Longlac snow drag. “Watch your eyes!”

What an amazing winter we’ve had! Nothing makes us snowmobilers happier then when it snows. we were lucky again this year and had plenty of it!  We had a challenging start of our season this year, with many things happening to us. First, our volunteers from both clubs spent countless hours brushing our trail system.

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Trevor Stark, groomer operation and his daughter, helping in one of many brushing excursion.

 

Brushing Rein Onnis

Rein Onnis club volunteer. Brushing excursion. Beautiful day out in the wilderness!

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Norm Gelineault, club volunteer out for a ride trail inspection and brushing. Always more fun to do with your with friends.

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Kyler Lafrance, my son, my right hand man! club volunteer in his element fixing things that Dad breaks!

This year for some reason Mother Nature made the brush grow a lot more than in other years. I didn’t mind the extra work it gave me, I actually lost a few pounds but still a lot of work. Mechanical break downs started early as well. With the Geraldton Groomer, broken hydraulic hoses, broken plow, wheel bearing etc. Even with all these challenges we were well on our way to get our trail system open nearly 3 weeks ahead of schedule.

 

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Roger Gosselin, our main Mechanic, go to person when things are not right! Matt Lemieux and Justin Gosselin-Archer, newer club volunteers and soon to play a bigger roll at club level.

That was until I sunk our Groomer in a swamp hole on the Hydro line just north of Geraldton on Dec 7th. That set us back a little. 20141207_162647_resized But after checking over the groomer and finding that we were still in good mechanical condition, we continued to groom the trail system. Longlac was also well on their way grooming their trail system.

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Nick Beaulieu, guiding the towing of the BR. lots of experience in this young man!

 

That was until the first week of Jan 2015 when their groomer decided it had enough, potentially putting our season in jeopardy. Many calls and emails were sent out to various snow clubs across Ontario. District 14 “Timmins” and District 17 “west of Thunder Bay” were both working hard at getting one of their older spare groomers for us. The Marathon Snow Kickers were the ones who came to our rescue, lending us their old tucker!

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Dave Davis, again helping out the clubs, Dave is also the one who pull me out of the swam with an excavator. Many years of volunteering for the clubs!

 

This old tucker groomer once belonged to the Geraldton Snow Club back in the day. So it was nice to see it back in our area. We  are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Marathon Snow Club. Longlac were able to maintain their trail system very well with this groomer. Now this groomer only needs minor repairs and general maintenance before it is shipped back to Marathon.

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Eric Corbin Longlac VP, has work very hard in the pass two years for the Longlac Club. certainly one of the key person that will bring success to the Longlac club. Craig Colbourne Marathon VP.

 

This still leaves the Longlac Snow Club with no groomer for next season. With the average cost of $50 000 for a good used groomer, there would be no way to do this without some financial plan in place. A decision was made by the executive of the Longlac Snow Club to sell the Club House. A lot of work was done in the last few months with the MNR to figure out what to do with the land use permits where the club house is located. It was a very hard decision to make, as this club house saw thousands of volunteer hours over the years since it was built in 1983 and having to sell is a little disheartening. But this seems to be the only financially feasible thing to do. Although we saw great support for trail permits sales in the last two years, it was still not enough to justify keeping the club house. Like many snow clubs across Ontario, club houses are very much a thing of the past. Once the Club house is sold, the Longlac Snow Club will be in a better financial position to purchase a used groomer.

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One of many poker rally. this photo: at the top of the Longlac Ski-hill.

 

 

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Nick Beaulieu Longlac President, enjoying the old tucker!

Our operations are 100% funded by trail permits with some fundraising done at the club level. This year we sold a total of 171 permits between Longlac and Geraldton, down from 174 last year.  That’s still pretty good considering that only 3 years ago we were not sure if both clubs would make the 50 permit requirement to stay in good standing with the OFSC. Like last year, we sold 35 permits to people living outside of Greenstone, people looking to support us during these challenging times and wanting us to survive and prosper. The same people that would like to see the trail from Longlac to Hearst reopened like it was years ago. People from places like New York, Ohio, Kitchen, Windsor, Whitby, Windermere, Hearst, Fort Francis, Denfield, London, North Bay, Belle River, South Bruce Peninsula, Thunder Bay, Waterford, Akron New York,. Buchanan, Menomomie WI, Thornhill, Jacksons point, Huntsville, Berrien Springs MI, Haddonfield NJ, Sudbury, Rochester NY and Clarence NY. Their support, along with the support of our locals, have made our clubs successful and we thank you very much! Of course there’s still a few local snowmobilers that think it’s ok to ride our trails without permits. We are hoping you will support us next season as this is not fair to the other paying permit buyers and the volunteers working hard to keep these clubs alive.

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Caramat poker rally. fun times

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Getting ready to leave on another poker rally or ride, from Roger and Jennifer place.

Overall we had a great snowmobiling winter!  This years success is also due to people and organizations that have helped us in one form or another. Cloutier Contracting, Greenstone Welding, Frank Baillargeon, Wolverine Logging, Longlac Curling Club,  Municipality of Greenstone, Peter Kathmann Imexco, Ray & Doris Truck Parts. But most important is our core group of hands-on volunteers, they are the ones working hard at keeping these clubs operating year in and year out. Without them, there just wouldn’t be any clubs. This season saw many poker rallies, on and off trail, and we look forward providing you with these types of event again next year.

On a different note, the Geraldton Snow Club be lead by a new board of executive, as I have decided to move from Geraldton to the Sudbury area. Plan are in the works to keep our clubs alive and well and I’m positive that the new board will bring new and exciting adventure for all. I will continue to support them during this transition period. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many friends and volunteers who have help me, help the club grow to where it is today. I will certainly miss this club, but leave with many great and awesome memories. I’ve enjoyed every minute I have spent working for the Geraldton Snow Club and Kenogamisis Fish and Game.  Well keep you posted as to who the new executive will be in the near future. Cheers from Michel Lafrance, soon to be pass president.

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Me. Michel Lafrance Geraldton President, enjoying my last ride of the season, blew my track on this ride! missed out on the Hearst run! maybe next year?