/Haliburton County Snowmobile Association wins club of the year
HCSA volunteers nicknamed The Bridge Squad redecked two 20-foot-long bridges on TOP Trail B in horrible weather early last month. The HCSA was recently named the snowmobile club of the year by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs./Photo submitted by the HCSA

Haliburton County Snowmobile Association wins club of the year

Provincial distinction awarded ahead of milestone 50th year

By Stephen Petrick

Good news for snowmobilers; the snow is beginning to fall. Even better news: the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association will enter this season as tops in its class.

The HCSA was recently named the snowmobile club of the year by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs.

At the federation’s recent awards night, HCSA was named a regional winner; later that evening it was announced as the provincial winner, selected from 17 districts.

The federation said “the HCSA was selected for its exceptional innovative activities in participation development, rider experience, volunteerism and partnership development.”

The HCSA’s Forest and Rail FAR Loop tour was cited for attracting new snowmobilers to the area. The HCSA also encouraged downtown Haliburton businesses to post “Welcome Snowmobilers” signs in their windows. Also, the HCSA installed a “SnoCam” webcam to show current snow conditions in real-time and a charitable fundraiser was launched for The Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Foundation.

The association was also congratulated for its strong relationships with area businesses and municipalities, in particular those in the Haliburton County tourism industry.

The Haliburton County Snowmobile Association took delivery of a brand new Pisten Bully Model PB100 trail grooming machine last week. This new groomer replaces one that has been retired. The new Pisten Bully will be staged in Minden and used on Minden area trails for the coming season. /Photo submitted by HCSA

The award comes as HCSA is preparing for a milestone year; this marks its 50th season of grooming trails for snowmobiling enthusiasts.

“It is a huge honour to be selected as the Ontario Snowmobile Club of the year by our peers,” wrote HCSA p resident John Enright, in an email. “This is about all the private landowners who allow us to cross their properties without compensation and the thousands of volunteer man hours by HCSA people over the past 49 years, which got us to the place we are in today.”

The HCSA is a non-profit organization, owned and managed by volunteers. It manages 370 kilometres worth of trails. It is part of the broader Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, which manages about 30,000 kilometres of trails, between all its members.

“We have so much to see on our trails — an abandoned rail line, a whitewater preserve, a trail older than Canada, the only recognized snowmobile trail through Algonquin Park, ride hydro corridors, dense bush trails and so much more,” Enright wrote.

Snowmobiling helps to generate tourism revenue in Haliburton County. A 2019 report by the ONSC said that snowmobiling in the Haliburton area generates millions of dollars for the local economy, including about $2.5 million for the food and beverage industry and $1.2 million in accommodations.