Fellow AOD snowmachiners,
I urge you to contact both the Director of Alaska State Parks, Ben Ellis and your State Representative and encourage them to dismiss the proposal to reallocate SNOWTRAC funds away from winter trail grooming. The proposal in question was authored by Darcy Harris who is the current Trails Coordinator. Ms Harris has proposed several options, all of which would have the effect of cutting grooming funds 70 to 80 percent.
One of the things she wishes to do is fund two ranger positions to police groomers receiving SNOWTRAC grants. Apparently, she is under the impression that grant recipients are not spending their grants on grooming, when the reality is most groomers operate at a financial loss and the grant monies merely lessen the amount they spend out of pocket.
The Anchorage Snowmobile Club in cooperation with the Alaska State Snowmobile Association and our sister club the Curry Ridge Riders (who groom Petersville) are actively engaged to stop this proposal from becoming policy.
This isn't intended to be a debate over registration, just reminding the group of where these dollars come from. SNOWTRAC is funded by snowmachine registration fees ($5 per sled per year). On average this generates about $225,000, of which State Parks takes 12% for program administration. This leaves around 200K for grants.
In my opinion grooming is being singled out by a low level bureaucrat with a personal anti-motorized bias. No other grant program within DNR is scrutinized to the level being proposed and by all accounts trail grooming, as currently administered, is an unparalleled success as far as government programs go: low overhead, self-funded, and serves a broad constituency.
I've attached the proposal for your consideration and information. Please do not interpret this request for correspondence as an invitation to attack Ms. Harris. This is about stopping a bad idea. It doesn't matter if you ride a snowmachine for fun, or a living, or mush dogs or snowshoe, or whatever; if you use the trail system in winter this affects YOU.
Anchorage Snowmobile Club
Snowmobile Trail Grant Program Restructuring Proposal 2012 (1).pdf