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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
!!! EMERGENCY MEETING TONIGHT !!!
!!! WAKEFIELD SNOWMOBILE TRAIL 2 CLOSURE !!!
The new ownership of Big Snow Resort , which operates Blackjack Mountain - Big Snow Resort and Indianhead Mountain - Big Snow Resort , alerted the GRTA they are revoking our trail permits permanently. We will hold our club meeting tonight and then move into solution finding discussion on reconnecting the trail system afterwards.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Snowmobile trail 2 in Gogebic county will not connect east to west. Access to Bessemer, MI, Ironwood, MI, Hurley, WI, Mercer, WI will only be possible via 11S connector through Vilas County, WI. County roads are open for snowmobile use in the ROW, unless marked.

We will seek your positive support for snowmobile tourism in a call to action very soon, please check back for updates. We don't have much else to say right now other than we are so, so very sorry to our sponsors, members, neighbors and community leaders. We spent the last week hoping for a different outcome, but it was agreed it was time for us to go public and seek support. It's time to shine with positivity our fellow sled head supporters and show the world how much snowmobiling means to Gogebic County & beyond!

Steve Hamilton
President - GRTA
#saveGCsnowmobiling

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Like it or not what I have commented previously on here has to be accomplished. The current Michigan Snowmobile Riders, Snowmobile Dealers, All Motels, Restaurants, Bars, that directly benefit from Michigan Snowmobile Season need to urgently act fast and Pony Up Now to contribute to the Michigan Snowmobile Permanent Trail Easement Fund. Now or more of this is going to happen until there are no more trails to ride your new $20,000 snowmobile on. Snowmobiling as we know it will cease to exist. It might turn into riding off trail Mountain sleds "as of today" on legal land that is still legal and who knows what the future holds with that. All Motor Recreationists need to realize that the anti motor environmental wacko's are doing everything they possibly can to eliminate motorized recreation of all kinds permanently. All it takes is a majority of our Lawmakers to pass new laws to accommodate environmentalists and Motorized trail riding in Michigan will grind to a very sudden halt. Some riders might say they don't ride groomed trails. I myself thought that way in my younger and physically healthier years at 19 yrs old when I bought my first new snowmobile in 1978. But now that I am 63 with Congestive Heart Failure and Kidney failure coming on, along with being a above knee amputee I ride groomed snowmobile trails. Point being if you are healthy today you never know what your future health holds. If you are like myself, I do not want to quit snowmobiling, but as a guy who use to ride off trail, I will trail ride and I will still enjoy the sport of snowmobiling. There is no more time to keep kicking the can down the road. The time is now for us to fund the snowmobile trail permanent Easement Fund. Anymore kicking the can down the road and all of the Michigan Snowmobile trail system will be gone forever. You would think that some of the ( No names just saying) very successful and very well to do Powersports Snowmobile Dealers(s) would possibly want to take the lead on accomplishing having this happen as it would only benefit them and their Powersports Dealerships directly.
 

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Loud sleds.
It's too late now to fix the loud sled problem as it relates to this trail but man, I wish modified exhausts were illegal. I follow a lot different snowmobile clubs on Facebook watching trail conditions and they are constantly fighting this battle along with trespassing. We need to find a way to educate ALL snowmobilers on the importance of following these rules.

As it relates to this trail, I'm not sure there is much that can be done and the timing of their decision couldn't be any worse.
 

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Like it or not what I have commented previously on here has to be accomplished. The current Michigan Snowmobile Riders, Snowmobile Dealers, All Motels, Restaurants, Bars, that directly benefit from Michigan Snowmobile Season need to urgently act fast and Pony Up Now to contribute to the Michigan Snowmobile Permanent Trail Easement Fund. Now or more of this is going to happen until there are no more trails to ride your new $20,000 snowmobile on. Snowmobiling as we know it will cease to exist. It might turn into riding off trail Mountain sleds "as of today" on legal land that is still legal and who knows what the future holds with that. All Motor Recreationists need to realize that the anti motor environmental wacko's are doing everything they possibly can to eliminate motorized recreation of all kinds permanently. All it takes is a majority of our Lawmakers to pass new laws to accommodate environmentalists and Motorized trail riding in Michigan will grind to a very sudden halt. Some riders might say they don't ride groomed trails. I myself thought that way in my younger and physically healthier years at 19 yrs old when I bought my first new snowmobile in 1978. But now that I am 63 with Congestive Heart Failure and Kidney failure coming on, along with being a above knee amputee I ride groomed snowmobile trails. Point being if you are healthy today you never know what your future health holds. If you are like myself, I do not want to quit snowmobiling, but as a guy who use to ride off trail, I will trail ride and I will still enjoy the sport of snowmobiling. There is no more time to keep kicking the can down the road. The time is now for us to fund the snowmobile trail permanent Easement Fund. Anymore kicking the can down the road and all of the Michigan Snowmobile trail system will be gone forever. You would think that some of the ( No names just saying) very successful and very well to do Powersports Snowmobile Dealers(s) would possibly want to take the lead on accomplishing having this happen as it would only benefit them and their Powersports Dealerships directly.
This effects the entire region. This is an incredibly popular trail in a very busy area.
 

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Loud sleds.
Thats the answer people like to default to when in reality its just that some people just hate snowmobiles.More of these people move into the northwoods every year and bring their suburb mentality with them.They could be Electric powered and there will still be an argument by some groups against them.Keep in mind these same people use gas powered snowmobiles and machinery to maintain their silent sports trails.
 

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Thats the answer people like to default to when in reality its just that some people just hate snowmobiles.More of these people move into the northwoods every year and bring their suburb mentality with them.They could be Electric powered and there will still be an argument by some groups against them.Keep in mind these same people use gas powered snowmobiles and machinery to maintain their silent sports trails.
I agree it's the default answer but it's also the right answer a lot of the time. We are not helping ourselves when we install cans that clearly state they are for off trail or race use and ride them on the trail.

There were some people riding wheelies in Toivola last year through a freaking cemetery. Knuckle heads will be knuckle heads.

We will never stop the people moving from the city to the northwoods. We can help ourselves out though by being more responsible and helping others do the same.
 

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I have never understood why the trail through this section never followed the road like the rest of the trail.

Although i liked riding through the woods by the ski hill and used to be a good stop for a drink and burger.

It was for the most part always trashed from all the twists and turns, and people hammering the corners.

If you were lucky enough to catch a fresh groom with low traffic it was a fun trail.

Other than that kind of misery.

Hope something gets figured out.


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That would be a huge loss. Main gateway from Hurley. That current section that is looking to get shut down, is actually an old re-route/old trail. Trail 2 used to go direct east on the rail bed all the way to Wakefield. There was an old trail that went North up to Lake of the clouds, that got shut down. I believe it was trespassing issues that got the main trail 2, and old trail shut down. They just kept a portion of the trail around the ski lodge as a reroute. It's been like that since 2008ish?
We are own worst enemies at times..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Right from the source….

There has been a great amount of commentary and discussion on the meeting that took place over the snowmobile trail through the resort.

The management of Snowriver Mountain Resort, formerly known as Big Snow, appreciates the feedback we’ve received from snowmobilers over the past few days, and we recognize the huge economic value these visitors bring to the area. We look forward to working with our local community to help strengthen the local economy and continue to be both a good neighbor and good steward of the land we operate on.

As a ski resort, it is our responsibility to provide a comfortable, enjoyable, and safe skiing and boarding experience for our guests, including many families with young children. While we embrace and encourage all forms of winter recreation, the proximity of a busy snowmobile trail to our guests and our ski area operations creates hazards that are not only not covered by our insurance but are also not safe. While we do employ snowmobiles as part of our operations, including snowmaking and ski patrol, these trips are strictly limited, done by trained staff, are covered by insurance and are operated based on best industry safety protocols.

Unfortunately, the snowmobile trail system, as it exists today, goes directly through the heart of our ski area’s base areas and this is not safe. The trail in question came to be when other landowners revoked access to their land back in the mid-2010s. After this, a trail was built across the resort without a written use agreement or adequate liability plan. Moving forward, we are actively exploring options to find a solution in which a snowmobile trail between the east and west of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan can still travel through the communities of our surrounding area while continuing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests.

We were told by the local snowmobile club that it had been working on alternative routing to accomplish this, and we have offered financial assistance to help with this effort.

The Snowriver Mountain Resort and our staff look forward to continuing to be community partners and working with all involved to find a solution that works best for everyone involved.

Charles Skinner
President & CEO
Midwest Family Ski Resorts
 

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Thanks for update Al!
I would be curious on club's comments on this: After this, a trail was built across the resort without a written use agreement or adequate liability plan.
Did the club not get permission? I know a large portion of that is road run, so easement is not needed if on a public road. But a portion does go through the woods. This is the section that sucks, and cannot hold snow. I assume this is private property owned by them?

Also they stated: the proximity of a busy snowmobile trail to our guests and our ski area operations creates hazards that are not only not covered by our insurance but are also not safe.
Not certain about MI, but under Wisconsin law, specifically Chapter 350.19 Section 895.52 landowners are not liable for any injury occurring on their property when they have granted permission for snowmobiling, nor does the owner have any responsibility to keep his/her property safe for such activity.

Vehicles are probably a bigger hazard then sleds in that location!

Looks like their mission is clear though!
 

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maybe Skinner is just saying what he knows you guys want to hear, and maybe he's full of shit, but if his letter is at all accurate it seems like he's someone you can work with to obtain a solution thats equitable for both sides. IDK, I'm not familiar with the area at all but I hope it all gets straightened out
 

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Pa has the same laws. But the problem is they will get sued anyway. So, what we've done (along with others in Pa) is to obtain excessive liability insurance to cover the actual lawsuits as that's what would actually cost the landowner the money to defend themselves. So while they are hold harmless they are not totally harmless. At least in Pa. (and it appears Wisconsin.. maybe someone in Michigan can pipe up)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for update Al!
I would be curious on club's comments on this: After this, a trail was built across the resort without a written use agreement or adequate liability plan.
Did the club not get permission? I know a large portion of that is road run, so easement is not needed if on a public road. But a portion does go through the woods. This is the section that sucks, and cannot hold snow. I assume this is private property owned by them?

Also they stated: the proximity of a busy snowmobile trail to our guests and our ski area operations creates hazards that are not only not covered by our insurance but are also not safe.
Not certain about MI, but under Wisconsin law, specifically Chapter 350.19 Section 895.52 landowners are not liable for any injury occurring on their property when they have granted permission for snowmobiling, nor does the owner have any responsibility to keep his/her property safe for such activity.

Vehicles are probably a bigger hazard then sleds in that location!

Looks like their mission is clear though!
Shannon Schroeder

A statement from GRTA Club President Steve Hamilton regarding the Big Snow Resort trail loss:

"The Gogebic Range Trail Authority is a proud supporter of private property owner’s rights first and foremost. For the past 7 years this motorized trail functioned in beautiful harmony through these two ski hills beloved by all who visited them. While it’s utterly heart breaking for us, we warmly respect Big Snow Resort’s new direction to end motorized tourism on their property. However, we wholly refute Mr. Skinner’s claim of egregious liability and insufficient or no documentation, that is entirely false. Mr. Skinner has asserted that “A trail was built across the resort without a written use agreement or adequate liability plan.” The GRTA has held a liability policy and trail permits (land use agreement) for Big Snow Resort since the inception of the trail. The State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources wouldn’t allow GRTA to operate on their lands if we didn’t have liability coverage in place. It’s the absolute cornerstone of our program – landowner protection! The snowbelt region of the Midwest would not have the proliferation of snowmobile trails in this modern-day litigious society if egregious liability for landowners existed. Landowner protections in Michigan are stout and the snowmobile trail program hasn’t had a claim in 30 years.
Currently GRTA requests Snowriver to afford us a timetable for our departure – April 2023 – to find a solution off their property. However, there is currently no known reroute and not for a lack of trying. The MDNR granted $30,000 in 2018 to find a route for Snowmobile Trail 2 and the new Iron Belle Trail through this area. After 4 years the work has turned up no viable options. The only option to connect the ultra-critical snowmobile trail infrastructure was through Big Snow Resort. The fallout to area businesses from an abrupt shutdown will be devastating and everyone must do everything to prevent that from happening. We sincerely wish the circumstances of the trail were different and we were able to simply pick it up and move it. However, local landowner politics and exceptionally dynamic terrain make any solution outside of Big Snow Resort a multi-million dollar project. We look forward to constructive talks with the new ownership to avert a devastating trail shutdown."
 

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I know Steve Hamilton personally. He is very well spoken, knowledge in all the laws, honest, all around good dude. He has made great strides in the GRTA both for summer and winter recreation. He seriously works his butt off for the club and community.
Unfortunately the new owners don't give a rats ass about us snowmobilers. A similar situation happened at Mount Bohemia last year near Houghton. These people don't like us, plain and simple! It happens all over the place.
They can get government grant money for paved bicycle trails and we have to go to great lengths to preserve trails that are almost 100% funded by the users pass and registration dollars.
I wish Steve and the rest of the club the best of luck in finding a resolution. I know they will work tirelessly at maintaining or finding an alternative route.
This is a good reminder to send in your dues and help keep these clubs alive and ultimately our sport.
We spend 15k on new machines. There should be no excuses why every rider is not a club member somewhere!
 
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