While it started snowing early in October, the Burns Lake Snowmobile club has had a slow season start and very few opportunities for raising funds this year due to COVID.
“Snowmobile season has started for some riders, however quite a few are still waiting for a better snowpack before heading out,” said the club leadership Nicole Gerow and Sean Stadey in an email to Lakes District News.
The COVID-19 restrictions have also stopped the club from planning any events for the season. In the past years, the club has hosted several snowmobile races, poker rides, raffles and sold “Cold Smoke” branded merchandise as fundraisers. Last year, the club even hosted a movie night, a first for the club, at the Beacon Theater.
”This year the club will be doing just the raffle. At this point we are unsure if we will be able to host our other regular events and will be working with the proper authorities to ensure covid protocols are adhered to if we are able to do any rides or races,” said Gerow.
All prizes for the raffle have been sourced from local businesses in a bid to support the local businesses in the area. The raffle will be drawn on Feb. 20, 2021.
Last year’s fundraising efforts lead to the funds being used for trail maintenance, repairing and updating the race lights, getting the trail groomer closer to being operational.
“We are also developing a day use and tent camping site at Nellian Lake with a gazebo and warm up shelter area. We have done cabin maintenance and outhouse installation in the Rhine Ridge Snowmobile Area. Another on going project is having the trail extension from Nellian Lake to Twin Pines, which will allow for direct access from town to the Ailport Riding Area basically from town,” she said.
The club has also started their new membership season and are currently at 38 paid members. In the last ten years, the club has seen between 40 to 90 members.
“The snowmobile club has big plans for developing the newly named Burns Lake Motorsports Park on Babine Road. It is currently the beginning of our trail, snowmobile drag track and has a dirtbike track roughed in. In the future we would like to see the bike track finished, a single track through the trees developed as well as a terrain park for atv’s and side by sides and maybe a couple of campsites,” she said.
The club is also hoping to create a gps database of the more commonly used trails. They are hoping that this will help boost the area and make it more attractive for tourists. It will also help on both, the local and provincial level to preserve riding areas, show that the activity is more widely done than previously thought as well as give the club the right to more consultation in regards to industrial activities in the areas, according to Gerow.
They are however always on the lookout for volunteers to turn their plans into reality.
“As with many volunteer groups we are faced with volunteer burnout while trying to maintain and develop amenities for riders to use. If you are able to donate any amount of time to an event, workbee or even just submitting your favorite trail gpx file we would be greatly thankful,” said Gerow.