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Snowmobiling: Clubs will share their knowledge and insight

Hiawatha SnoSeekers is one of the snowmobile clubs that has been asked to share some insight and information with the readers of the Post-Bulletin in regards to the sport of snowmobiling in our area.

The goal of these weekly articles is to inform readers about all aspects of our sport, recreational snowmobiling.

Hiawatha SnoSeekers, one of 300 Minnesota Snowmobile Clubs, was established in 1983 as a nonprofit organization sponsored by Olmsted County. The snowmobile club was established to maintain and improve a section of the Minnesota trail system for both local and out of state riders to enjoy. The club consists of four officers: a president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary, along with seven board members.

Meetings are held the first Monday of every month at the snowmobile club house which is located in Dover. Officers and board members meet at 7:30 and the regular meeting starts at 8 p.m. All members and visitors are welcome to attend the meetings to stay updated with what is happening within the club and the surrounding areas.

Hiawatha SnoSeekers marks and maintains 120 miles of trails that lead to Eyota, Dover, Elgin, Chatfield and Fountain. These trails are all a part of the whole trail system that is monitored, regulated and funded by the state of Minnesota. We are just a small part of the 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails that are in the great state of Minnesota, the second-longest integrated snowmobile trail in the United States.

You can imagine how much time and effort is put in by all the area snowmobile club volunteers to keep these trails marked clearly and maintained for all snowmobilers to enjoy throughout the whole snowmobiling season. A future article will discuss what it takes to keep these trails in smooth running condition.

Safety and safety training on our trail system is a very important part of our club. This is another topic we’ll take up during the season.

All of the fun, excitement, and memories that we create while snowmobiling would not be possible without our many landowners, Olmsted County and Fillmore County, who have granted us permission to have our trails on their land or road right of way. We cross their woods, their fields, and ditches with our trail system.

A question commonly comes up by private landowners about liability when we are seeking permission to have our trail run on their property. The State of Minnesota has a Landowner Permission Form that automatically covers the landowner under Minnesota Statutes §§ 604A.20 through 604A.27, which were enacted to encourage and promote the use of privately owned lands for beneficial recreational purposes.

Under the statute, snowmobiling is a recreational purpose. In addition, our snowmobile club maintains trail liability insurance which covers the private landowners as additional insured’s under the policy. A copy of the policy is available from our club or from Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) which is our highest level state snowmobiling organization. You can visit the MNUSA web site at www.mnsnowmobiler.org.

It has been my pleasure to have the opportunity to write this article. I have been a snowmobiler for many years and even though our winters can be pretty rough, I always look forward to winter so I can go riding. Snowmobiling has given me so many memorable times spent with family and friends and I hope that with the upcoming articles you find that you will want to get out there and enjoy that wonderful snow!

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