Contributed by Christine Powers-Gross, Secretary, Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club
PULASKI and ALTMAR – Summer is a time of BBQs, camping, toasting marshmallows, and swimming, with snowmobiling being the furthest thing from most people’s mind.
But the volunteers who maintain snowmobile trails are just as busy in the summer with pre-season snowmobile preparations as they are in the winter – brushing trails, fixing and replacing bridges, working with landowners and securing the permits and permissions needed to continue to use trails on state lands.
There may be no snow, but a club’s work never ends.
Among the trail improvement projects in full swing this summer for the Pulaski-Boylston snowmobile club were a major trail surface rehabilitation of a five-mile section of Route C5A between Pulaski and Altmar.
Water holes on this trail have been a real nuisance for a few years, damaging grooming equipment with deep water, and ice chunks ripping the track apart and causing transmission damage.
The area has become more swampy from recent winters of warmer than normal temperatures for longer periods of time.
This is a key corridor trail that extends through many clubs in Oswego County and in the Tug Hill, and has a significant impact on businesses in Pulaski and Altmar.
Moving or relocating the trail is not an option in that area.
During the Summer of 2016, the state Department of Environmental Conservation allowed us to do a trail surface improvement process that included installing culverts, cleaning and improving existing drainage ditches, and installing 14- by eight-foot by six-inch thick wooden mud mats that are covered with gravel to raise the grade of the trail and get rid of the standing water holes.
This is the same procedure that utility companies use in muddy, swampy areas to gain entry to maintain power poles.
This section of the trail was a huge success during the 2016-17 snowmobile season as this repaired area held snow consistently and had no exposed water.
While doing this test run we could accurately estimate the cost to improve this section of C5A.
With permission from the private landowners, the Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club and Oswego County ATV Club jointly installed more than 100 8- by 14-foot wooden mud mats and drew in 75 loads of gravel, all totaling more than 600 labor hours.
Parker’s Excavation/Tree Service, Brian Wallis, and the ATV club were generous in providing dump trucks and other equipment.
A two-mile stretch was completed before the upcoming 2017-18 snowmobile season, with the hope of providing the ultimate snowmobiling experience.
Some of the worst water hazards were filled in, but in 2018 work will continue if financial resources become available.
Our typical income sources – New York State Snowmobile Trail Grant, membership dues, and local donations from area businesses — are stretched to include other trail repairs – bridge replacements and to create more trail head parking.
During the off-season members are writing grants and hosting fundraising activities to help offset the costs associated with maintaining nearly 100 miles of trails – Spring & Fall BBQs, raffle drawings, and a donation from the Oswego County Fair Association to thank the club for parking cars during the county fair.
Now through April 2018, members are selling SledNY Super Raffle tickets.
Tickets are available for $5 per ticket for chance on 51 prizes, including snowmobiles and cash.
To request tickets, email: [email protected] or text 315-430-1754.
Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club continues to improve the trail system, but it is a challenge to do without new and younger members to carry on the work.
Come join our club – make new friends – make a difference.
The Fall season brings about trail brushing, trail signing, repairing bridges, and maintenance of the grooming equipment.
Try snowmobiling; take a ride with us at our third annual “Take a Friend Snowmobiling” event at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 and 28 at the club barn on 5001 N. Jefferson St., Pulaski.
Dress warmly – sled and helmet are furnished.
Learn about snowmobile safety and the fun of snow.
Facebook, find us, like us.
Follow current trail conditions, work day/event announcements, and view photos.
We can also assist out of town snowmobilers with area accommodation and restaurant information.
(All photos provided by Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club.)