2018 marks fifty years of statewide organized snowmobiling in Maine.
The Maine Legislature recently passed a joint resolution recognizing the MSA on its fiftieth aniversary. The portion of the document reproduced below acknowledges the contributions that the MSA has made to snowmobiling and to the Maine economy, and congratulates the members of the association on this milestone anniversary. The document was available for viewing at the MSA Annual Meeting on April 21 in Palmyra.
The MSA has been an active and involved part of the Maine winters since 1968. From an initial meeting of six dedicated snowmobilers, the MSA has grown to 280+ clubs statewide with thousands of families and supporting businesses from Sanford to Allagash.
The focus in the early days is little changed in 2018. Landowner relations has played a vital role in building and maintaining a trail system that has now grown to over 14,000 miles. Safety has also been an important part of the MSA's mission. Working closely with the Maine Warden Service, the MSA has been at the forefront of setting standards for safety, and has worked tirelessly in the halls of the Legislature to shape the laws that have enabled trail funding and common sense safety regulations.
Maine's 14,000 miles of trails are now regarded by riders from across the country as the finest in the Northeast. From a web of club trails, pioneers like Joe Firlotte, Lewis Newell and Les Ames created the numbered ITS Trail System that now supports a network of local trails that reaches just about anywhere a rider would need to be in Maine.
2018 Maine Snowmobile Show Dates Set
The MSA's annual Maine Snowmobile Show will return to the Augusta Civic Center on the weekend of October 19-21, 2018.
If you are interested in securing exhibitor space at the event contact show organizer Bob Meyers, email, 207-622-6983 for pricing/more information. Exhibitor booths must be manned at all times during show hours. Show hours are Friday 4p.m.-9p.m., Saturday 9a.m.-8p.m., Sunday 9a.m.-3p.m.
MSA members who would like to volunteer some time working at the admission gate should drop an email to the msa to see what shifts are available. (Priority of shift choice is given to volunteers who have worked those time slots at the preceding year's show.)
Clubs with a proven record of Super Raffle ticket sales who are interested in selling tickets at the show can also drop an email to email@example.com to be considered for a sales shift during the event.
Given the conditions in high elevation and northern areas, riding could very well continue into early to mid-April, and riders are giving high marks to the 2017-18 season.
Spotty conditions in some areas of the state and an increase in snowpack in Maine's neighboring states have led to a slight dip in registration numbers, but the numbers are still holding up well, and a large carryover amount from last season should help make the numbers work as clubs turn in their grants for the season.
As of March 6, registration numbers reported by IF&W totaled 68,363; a little less than 5,000 less than the same time last year. Resident registrations stood at 50,822; down 6 per cent from last season. Non-resident totals were at 17,541; down about 8 per cent from last year. March numbers should tell the story with excellent conditions in northern and western Maine, and diminishing conditions in neighboring states. Following the usual practice, final registration numbers will likely not be available until mid-summer.
With some clubs grooming almost continuously from before Christmas to early April, and other clubs held up by spotty coverage and poor weather conditions, the Snowmobile Program sent a message to clubs in early March with an offer of some assistance based on the availability of funding. In a March 7 e-mail to members of the Snowmobile Trail Fund Advisory Council, Director Joe Higgins outlined a plan to assist clubs with Municipal Grants who had run out of money with additional fuel assistance.
Clubs with Municipal Grants have been asked to save their fuel receipts dated from March 8 through April 8. Those original receipts should be sent to the Snowmobile Program with an invoice for their total before May 1, 2017. These bills should be separate from the Municipal Grant reimbursement requests which are due May 15. Once all the supplemental requests are received, the Program will determine how much additional reimbursement can be issued based on the total requests and available registration dollars.
The legislative session has been relatively quiet, but the one bill in particular that was supported by the MSA now appears to shortly become law. LD-1837, "An Act To Allow Cash Prizes for Certain Raffles Conducted by Charitable Organizations;" sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta significantly modifies changes that were made to game of chance rules that were enacted as part of the budget compromise during last summer's government shutdown. The Katz bill, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, is awaiting the Governor's signature. It was approved as an emergency, so it will become law as soon as it is signed. The bill breaks out raffles in several levels, and the top step will essentially allow the MSA to conduct their annual Super Raffle the same way it has been in the past with a few minor modifications. Under the previous version it would have been virtually impossible to continue the Super Raffle in the form it was known by clubs. Of course the devil is always in the detail, but with the swift passage of LD-1837, the new rules should be in place when work begins on Super Raffle 2018 in May.
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