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Snowmobile club works to make trails and offer courses

Winter is not over yet, and the Somerset Sno-Sports Club is fine with that.

The Somerset Sno-Sports is one of 12 snowmobile clubs in the area that maintain and support the 216 miles of the St. Croix County snowmobile trail system.

With more than 50 members, they meet on the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Settlement Restaurant on Highway 35.

In addition to constantly clearing brush from the trails, the members have also undertaken several big projects this year.

One of their major projects was updating the St. Croix County snowmobile trail map. Another group had been updating it every two years when Sno-Sports volunteered to take over the project for 2011.

"A subcommittee of volunteers spent many evenings this summer organizing, planning and then contacting advertisers," explained Joe Pauley, Sno-Sports Club president. "For trail accuracy, one member traveled the entire county using a GPS to plot the trail system then overlaid it onto the county map."

The trails span both public and private lands, so the club members are especially careful to be sure to use proper markings. Due to the recent growth in the county, housing developments have altered some of the trail availablity.

"Relocating trails because of land issues is getting close to impossible in the western part of the county," said Pauley. "We need to stress to snowmobilers that the trail use is a priviledge for us and to stay on marked trails (between the blazers)."

The club also took on the responsiblility for having the maps printed. They worked with the other county clubs and their advertisers to get the new map ready for the 2011 season.

The new map can be seen on the St. Croix County website s under the parks snowmobile trail system.

Another major project the club undertook this year was to collaborate with the New Richmond Trail Blazers to sponsor a snowmobile safety course.

The five-class course spanned two weeks in January, including a final driving test. Forty-three students graduated with the help of seven instructors - two from New Richmond and five from Somerset.

The course has been offered for the last 25 years, graduating and certifying more than 1,200 students. The course alternates the location between the two communities. This year it was held at the Somerset High School.

For more information, call 715-772-6824 or e-mail Pauley at joeshanna@so