CALL TO ACTION! Now is the time…..
Look to the November Michigan Snowmobile News for a list of legislators in our state.
We are asking you to call upon your state legislator and let them know how important this is to you and our smooth trails.
Ask them to help you the snowmobiler, to help our chosen recreation!
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2015
MSA needs you! The future of your sport needs you! This is an official call to action on behalf of the future of organized snowmobiling in Michigan!
After considerable discussion and calls to our state legislators, we are sad to report that we still can’t find a legislator to introduce our new Trail Permit bill. They are all afraid of raising taxes. Let me stress, our proposal is not, would not, be a tax increase. It is a “pay to play” system, and we already do that. We support our sport, and just want to assess ourselves differently. We have always paid our own way.
Our proposal is to raise the trail permit fee for those riders who are not members of the Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA). Perhaps a better way to put it is a new discounted trail permit for MSA members. Again, we have not been able to secure a sponsor for our bill.
You Can Make a Difference
If you think you can’t make a difference, you are wrong. When our legislation has been stalled in the past, we have asked you to contact your state legislators, and they have heard your voices. In fact after our last call to action, we were contacted by several legislative offices and asked what they could do to stop the phone calls and letters.
What they can do — is sponsor our trail permit legislation, which has already been written and waiting for a bill sponsor. Wisconsin, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, all passed legislation to offer trail permits to the members of the state association at a discounted price.
Keep in mind that if our funding mechanism isn’t changed, the snowmobile program will suffer. The groomed trails will suffer, and suffer greatly. Who is going to suffer if changes are not made? You, the snowmobiler, is going to suffer.
MSA Members Would Receive Discounts on Trail Permits
PROPOSED LEGISLATION WOULD READ:
The fee for a snowmobile trail permit sticker shall be discounted $25 if all of the following apply: The purchaser is a member in good standing of the Michigan Snowmobile Association, a nonprofit corporation, with an individual or family membership. In the case of a family membership, only the purchaser of the membership is considered to be a member for purposes of this subsection. The Membership is an individual or family membership. The sticker is sold by the Michigan Snowmobile Association as the department’s agent under subsection (8). An individual shall not purchase under subsection (2) more than the following number of discounted stickers for the same 1-year period unless the individual owns a number of snowmobiles equal to or greater than the total number of discounted stickers purchased: (A) If the individual has an individual membership in the Michigan Snowmobile Association, 2 stickers. (B) If the individual has a family membership in the Michigan Snowmobile Association, 4 stickers. (4) The Michigan Snowmobile Association may require an individual to submit snowmobile registrations and vehicle identification numbers to verify the number of snowmobiles owned by the individual for the purposes of subsection (3)
Note: Permits will be $60 each; the discounted cost to an MSA member will be $35 if purchased through MSA, a certified Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agent.
The cost of a MSA membership is $25, add that to the cost of a $35 permit and both are equal — $60.
The incentive to be an MSA member is you can buy multiple permits at the discounted rate. MSA members will also get continuous updates on safety, education, new trails or closures throughout the year.
Why We Need This Legislation
The cost of grooming equipment and maintenance continues to rise while funding for the Snowmobile Trail Improvement Program continues to remain the same, even decrease. The cost of fuel has stabilized, but the cost of equipment will continue to increase. Something has to change.
The average cost of a John Deere tractor, fully equipped with Soucy tracks now costs more than $265,000. Last month I explained that we have to dip into next year’s equipment budget to purchase all of the equipment needed this year. We will be able to purchase seven or eight pieces of equipment with this year’s funds and two or three will be purchased out of next year’s budget, which began on Oct. 1
All of that equipment will be on our snowmobile trails for this season. However, if we don’t get this legislation approved, we will be forced to cut down on equipment purchases next year.
Equipment is also aging. Our equipment ranges from 20 years old to new this year. All of that equipment has to be maintained, repaired, and replaced. Cutting the equipment budget will hurt smooth trails in Michigan.
We also have to include expansion and improvements to our trails. Both cost money, money that is not in our snowmobile program budget.
I know that everyone is thinking — if you don’t have it in the budget, you need to cut back a little here and there. We have spent countless hours looking at where cuts can be made. We are at the point where drastic changes are going to have to be made. It is only a matter of time before the amount of miles groomed in Michigan is cut back as well as equipment purchases. Either way, our trails, your trails will suffer.
What You Need to Do
We need all of our members to call, write, and e-mail THEIR Michigan House Representative and Senator. Tell them to support legislation to increase our trail permit fees. Included in this article you will find the name, district, and phone number of every Michigan House and Senate member. Look to the web site information included if you are not sure who your representative or senator is.
Just something to think about………………….
Most know there is no free ride in our society, but do you know where you would be riding without MSA? In 30 years so many things have changed, we went from snowmobile loops where you drove to an area unloaded and rode a loop and loaded back up and went home or on to the next destination, now we have 6500 miles of marked groomed trails most taking you from town to town hundreds of miles without a break in the system….we have emergency response in most areas, we have a historic trail permit, we have a constitutionally protected snowmobile fund, we have a permanent trail fund to insure our trails do not go away, we have good relations with our Michigan Legislators, we have 65 volunteer clubs maintaining your trails and consistently trying to add more. These are just a few of the things we have done to enhance the snowmobile community, and yet our membership is below 10,000. Michigan boasts over 200,000 registered sleds. I wonder how many members there are in the anti snowmobile groups? My guess is lots more than we have, so when we approach our legislators and request help, how big is our voice against their voice? These legislators are the same people elected by Michigan residents to work for Michigan residents….they have to respond to the loudest voice to keep their public happy. I know everyone does not agree with every move MSA makes, I don’t agree with every move my representative makes either but I still voted for him and would again. I have to trust that he sees the bigger picture clearer than I do, many times his hands are tied…..It is the same with MSA, you do not have to agree with every move but I hope you can trust and see that we are doing the best to keep the sport going, moving forward, for the betterment of the sport. Do your part and join today!
Ed Klim talks about FOSPAC! (Friends of Snowmobiling Political Action Committee)
Babbitts’s Sport Center in Muskegon, MI wanted to help MSA and Michigan Snowmobiling by donating a New 2014 Arctic Cat Wildcat 4X4 UTV (a four seat side by side) to be used as a fundraiser. With a retail value of over $20,000, the money raised by this raffle will go a long way to help MSEAF continue its goal of safe snowmobiling on Michigan’s Snowmobile Trails!
DNR Reminds Snowmobilers of Sound Decibel Limits
(Press Release provided by MDNR)
MICHIGAN: Conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources remind snowmobilers that state law does have decibel limits for snowmobiles. Noncompliance could damage Michigan’s nationally recognized trail program. Officers in the western Upper Peninsula have been working patrols targeting sound violations in response to numerous complaints from landowners and others who live near snowmobile trails.
Under Michigan law, the muffler on a snowmobile must be in good working order and when in constant operation noise emission cannot exceed the following levels:
- For snowmobiles manufactured after July 1, 1977 and sold or offered for sale in Michigan, 78 decibels at 50 feet, as measured using the 2003 Society of Automotive Engineers standard J192.
- For a stationary snowmobile manufactured after July 1, 1980 and sold or offered for sale in Michigan, 88 decibels at 50 feet, as measured using the 2004 Society of Automotive Engineers standard J2567.
The penalty for violating the sound levels for snowmobiles is a civil infraction, with fines up to $250.
This season, conservation officers on patrols in the western U.P. have issued tickets to numerous snowmobile operators whose sleds have well exceeded the 88-decibel limit, said the DNR’s Sgt. Ryan Aho.
“As a point of comparison, a train whistle at 500 feet is 90 decibels and sustained exposure at that level may result in hearing loss,” Aho said. “We encourage snowmobile operators to properly maintain their machines, and also discourage them from modifications that make sleds louder.”
Snowmobiles that do not comply with Michigan law for noise emission also can hurt the state’s trails program, said Ron Yesney, a recreation specialist with the DNR.
“Half of our snowmobile trails are on private lands and are there at the sole discretion of the landowner, and many pass through communities and very near to homes,” Yesney said. “Snowmobiles that exceed the noise emission levels are often a reason why we lose trail permissions on private land. Riders who modify their machines to make them extra loud jeopardize the enjoyment of our nationally recognized trails for all riders.”
For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, including current laws and regulations, go to www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.
MSEAF “SNOW BUCKS” Raffle
The Michigan Snowmobile Association will once again help with fundraising for the Michigan Snowmobile Education & Advancement Fund (MSEAF).
They have a unique way to maybe win some money for you, and also help them fund their safety and awareness campaigns.
They will have a winner every day of $100 for the entire 2015 year.
They will draw one ticket for each day of the preceding month from the sold ticket stubs. After each draw the stub will be returned to the drawing. The prize will be for $100 for each ticket drawn.
Your number is good for the whole year and eligible to win every day!
REMEMBER THIS DRAWING IS FOR EVERY DAY OF 2015
MSA Board of Directors