GRAVENHURST - It’s no easy task turning snow into gold, but the Gravenhurst-based Snowcrest Riders Snowmobile Club has captured the attention of the province.
The local club has been presented the Presidents Award as club of the year for the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs.
“We’re really very excited about the award,” said club president and federation alternate governor Bob Clarke, adding the club won a similar prize in the late 1970s or early 1980s. “It’s a very exciting recognition for our volunteers, our community and the landowners who provide land for the trails. It’s something we all need to be proud of and enough can’t be said about them all.”
Claiming the top prize out of almost 230 provincial clubs, Clarke explained Snowcrest was awarded for its dedication to providing top-notch, safe recreational trails. The criteria takes into account trail permit sales, club activities and charitable events, and community partnerships.
He said with the club forming a partnership with town council in establishing a snowmobile tourism task force and charitable events like a ride for prostate cancer this past Family Day weekend that raised more than $21,500, the federation took note.
“We also did a lot of upgrading of our equipment and we want to make sure we keep making improvements that draw snowmobilers here as a prime destination,” Clarke added. Last winter snowmobilers injected between $2.5 million and $3 million into the local economy, he said.
“By everyone working together the way we have, we’re making our whole community stronger,” he said.
Clarke gave special thanks to Gravenhurst town council for partnering with the task force.
“They realize the club helps make the community stronger and helps sustain the town through the winter months.”
Clarke said this past off-season was also spent rebuilding a snowmobile trail bridge over Beaver Creek. The club is currently completing an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses with the town and is about to set out to do some final brushing work in preparation of the upcoming season.
“I know summer was fantastic, but we’re doing our snow dance now; it’s time to move on to winter,” Clarke said with a chuckle.
Along with the Presidents Award, the local club received a $2,000 cheque to put toward its trails and programming, as well as a trophy and plaque that are on display at the Snowcrest Riders office at 685 Muskoka Rd. North.