Although the Burns Lake Snowmobile Club had 155 members over a decade ago, last year the club had 36 members.
Dennis Firomski, president of the Burns Lake Snowmobile Club, is now urging local snowmobilers to register as members.
According to Firomski, becoming a member not only helps the club fund future projects and upkeep the ones already in place, but it also ensures that the hundreds of local snowmobilers can keep accessing the local trails.
“You become a member so that your voice is heard as a snowmobiler,” said Firomski. “We don’t want this closed down for riding because lots of us ride here.”
Firomski says snowmobile clubs across the province are often outvoted by small, highly motivated groups who can take away riding areas.
The B.C. government and the Houston Snowmobile Club have recently signed a stewardship management agreement to protect caribou in the Skeena Region. The agreement, which addresses the influence of recreation on northern caribou in the Telkwa Mountains, includes closing certain areas to recreation when there are caribou present.
“Locally, Smithers and Houston have recently lost or are going to lose areas we ride in; Tumbler Ridge lost huge amounts of their riding area,” said Firomski. “We need more registered members to show government how may sledders and ATVers there are in this province.”
“The more people we have, the more things we can get done,” he added.
A small portion of the Burns Lake Snowmobile Club’s membership goes to the B.C. Snowmobile Federation (BCSF).
“Being a member of the BCSF gives al of the clubs one voice,” explained Firomski. “BCSF goes to government and lobbies on the clubs’ behalf.”
According to BCSF president Richard Cronier, the issue of snowmobilers not registering as club members is not unique to Burns Lake. In a letter sent to snowmobile clubs across the province, he jokes that many snowmobile clubs are suffering from “S.T.P.” (same ten people).
“My youngest son tells me he is getting sick of showing up to do work with the same six or seven people all the time, and in a lot of ways…. he is right. We sacrifice weekends, evenings and we attend meetings so that many people reap the benefit of the hard work of a few,” said Cronier.
Local snowmobilers can become a member or renew their membership with the Burns Lake Smowmobile Club online at https://blsc-bcsf.silkstart.com/join. For more information, contact Dennis Firomski at 250-692-6438.
The next Cold Smoke Drags, the club’s biggest event of the year, will be held on Feb. 17, 2018.