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Hay River Snowmobile Club aims to continue trail work

Junior Barnes has been returned as president of the Hay River Snowmobile Club.
NNSL file photo

The Hay River Snowmobile Club is entering its third year of existence, and plans to continue to be active in promoting the sport.

That will include carrying on with its initiative to improve snowmobiling trails in the area.

"Last year, we finished approximately 15 kilometres," said Junior Barnes, the club's president. "This year, we have another section that we're planning to line up to get done towards the end of March. This one is going to be eight kilometres."

As with the previous project, the plan is to widen the trails to about 12 feet, while also adding signs, mile markers and directions.

The club's efforts to improve the trails help snowmobilers, but are also a benefit to many others, including skiers and snowshoers in the winter, and walkers in the summer.

Barnes noted the club is also planning a Solstice Family Ride on Dec. 19 to mark the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, which actually falls on Dec. 21.

The club is also considering a fun run or a poker run in February.

Plus, it is hoping to launch a fundraising raffle for a snowmobile in about two weeks.

The club held its annual general meeting on Nov. 9.

Barnes was acclaimed president, a position he has held since the club's first AGM in December of 2018 after it was formed as a non-profit society in October of that year.

Other returning members of the executive are vice-president David Scheller, secretary Alex Parkes and director Darryl Buhler.

New members of the executive are treasurer Bill Gostick, and directors Ashley Mabbitt and Daniel Perron.

Barnes noted that about 10 people attended the AGM.

"This year was kind of a low number. I don't know, maybe everybody is a little nervous," he said, referring to the possibility that concern about Covid-19 keeps people from attending such meetings.

Barnes is pleased there is once again a full executive for the organization.

"It's what we need," he said. "We need a few people to make some choices and decisions with us, and help show a bit of support. I mean at the end of the day it's more we're doing it for the community than we are for ourselves."

As of last week, 15 people had joined the club this year.

Last year, the club had 22 members, and Barnes is anticipating about the same membership this year.

"I expect the same numbers," he said. "I'd like to see more, but that just comes with time."

The club has reduced its membership fee from $25 to $20.

Barnes also advised snowmobilers that this is a "weird year" for water in the bush and on the Hay River.

"We definitely have record levels of water standing and in the river there," he said. "We just want to remind everybody to be extra cautious when they're around anything that looks like an open body of water. I know we've had cold weather, but the river is open in a lot of places, as well as the swamps, once you break through, there is a lot of water underneath still. They're not completely frozen."