AMHERST, N.S. - A Cumberland County snowmobile club has even more reason to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Members of the club recently returned from the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Wisconsin, where it was named International Snowmobile Club of the Year for 2018.
“It’s pretty rewarding for a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication and for the volunteers, businesses and supporters that we’ve had over the last five years to rebuild this club,” club member Andrew Wallis said. “We’ve got all these wonderful trails and three groomers, it would be nice to have a little snow, but it’s still pretty rewarding to get this kind of recognition for all that work.”
It has been an eventful few months for the club. It was named the provincial club of the year by the Snowmobile Association of Nova Scotia last October and then was recognized by the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations in June.
“At the same time we were there, we were told we’d won this award and were asked to go to Wisconsin to accept it,” Wallis said.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Cumberland Snowmobile Club - based in Collingwood Corner - has continued to grow and prosper. With 130 family members, 1,300 followers on Facebook and an active website, the club is also in tune with modern social media.
A VIP membership contributes to the grooming expense but also offers extra privileges and perks.
The club has also built five warming shelters along the trail.
Its annual operating budget exceeds $250,000 and each November, to start the season, the club holds a Dream Ride Lottery and Auction. In 2017, it raised more than $20,000.
The club also works with area ATV clubs to coordinate trails.
“We have created some great partnerships with other organizations and when we go to work in the Springhill area, or the Collingwood area we are able to do twice as much work because we’re all working together. We’re able to combine our resources and get more done and now with the work that’s been done in Oxford it’s going to be fantastic for recreational trail users,” Wallis said. “We’ve done all this work, hopefully we’ll get more than three weeks of snow.”
Wallis said the club has been very busy in recent years, taking a huge step forward last November when it purchased a third trail groomer, this one for the Springhill area, thanks to funding from the federal government, the provincial snowmobile association and the Municipality of Cumberland.
The third groomer added to groomers purchased in 2014 and 2015, which combine to groom some 550 kilometres of trails in both Cumberland and Colchester counties. The groomers are all operated by volunteers.
The club also did a lot of work rehabilitating the Ship Railway trail that connects with the rest of the trail system at Tidnish Bridge. With work being completed on the Oxford and area trails, there will be now be a full trail system from the border, through Cumberland and Colchester counties to Pictou.