Keeping the trails clear and safe

Posted at: 01/01/2013 4:20 PM
Updated at: 01/01/2013 8:28 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren

Last year's lack of snow forced many snowmobile enthusiasts to keep their sleds in the garage but that's not the case this year.

Snowmobilers say there's nothing like the wind in your face and the speed of a sled and given the fact that many sleds have remained dormant for the last year and half, they're making up for it now.

Snowmobiler Gary McFarland said, “It's a great day to ride. Temperatures are down, the water holes are starting to freeze up. It's just been awesome this last storm. Most people think this is bad weather, I think this is good weather.”

Snowmobilers live for days when the snow is deep, the sun is shining and they have the day off of work.

But all those snowmobile trails in Monroe and Wayne Counties don't get groomed and ready for riding by themselves.

“We're really excited to use the equipment we spent so much time and money on getting ready.” AJ Heligman is a trail boss for the Webster Ridge Runners -- a snowmobile club with about 600 members and growing. He and a handful of other members are in charge of grooming.

They volunteer their time to clear brush and polish 40 miles of trails from eastern Monroe County to western Wayne County. Heligman said, “It's warm, it's comfortable and when the riders pass you they give you a thumbs up. It's a good feeling to make them happy. Not only is it for comfort, grooming is, our primary role is to keep them safe.”

Safe from unseen bumps and debris, water holes and blocked paths. McFarland said, “It's awesome to have these guys taking care of the trails and donating their time to run the groomers. It's awesome. My hat goes off to them. It's awesome. We're very lucky.”

Click here to learn more about the Webster Ridge Runners