Rick Hallberg, President of the Souris River Snowmobile Club, outlined the snowmobile trail ready for use around the outskirts of Weyburn.
"We've got a warm-up shelter just on the north side of that trail, and then the trail goes from Weyburn, all the way out to Griffin, and then from Griffin it goes north to Creelman, Fillmore and then from Fillmore it goes north all the way up to Corning. Then back down south to Stoughton and then back to Griffin, so we make a nice loop up there."
"We've got four warm-up shelters on our trail system too, so those warm-up shelters are open to the public when they’re snowmobiling, with solar lights in them and wood stoves."
Hallberg said that they try to groom the trails once a week if they can; he said they don't have the trail groomed or signed yet from the Lionel shelter north of Fillmore to Corning and down to Stoughton.
"We can always use volunteers when we put our trail in. We've got about 6000 stakes and signs that have to get put in every Fall and taken out every Spring. It's a big job, so the more hands we have, the better, and anybody interested, you can look on our Facebook page, "Souris River Snowmobile Club." Go on there and just indicate to us that you're willing to help out, the more help the better."
"When you're going out across a field, it's a requirement from the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association (SSA) to have a stake on each side of the trail every 100 meters. That stake has to be painted and the reflector on the top, so that's a minimum of 20 stakes per kilometer that have to be installed and taken out every year."
He said that the funding they get from the SSA doesn't come close to covering the cost of grooming and equipment.
"When you put your registration on your snowmobile, $110 for that registration goes to the SSA and then all that money is added up, split out to all the different clubs in the province. There's 50 some clubs in the province, depending on how many kilometers of trail you have, how often you groomed, how long your season was, and if your trail inspection turned out good; that determines your level of funding."
He said that they've had some problems with quads and trucks going on the trails, and that it's actually a ticketable offence to drive a quad or vehicle down a snowmobile trail.
"Some guys and trucks seem to think it's pretty cool to drive down the snowmobile trail and all it does is rut it up, cause hazards. We have to go up and mark the trail where they've drove and then get the groomer back to groom it. So, depending where our groomer is at the time, it could cost us $2000 in fuel to just get it back to fix up those ruts."
Hallberg added that they encourage all the snowmobilers and everybody to support the sponsors that they have and to respect landowners' rights, so that snowmobiling can remain an option.
"We'll have a new trail map coming out here shortly and it will have all the sponsors on the back of it. Those maps are left in all the warm-up shacks and at the snowmobile dealerships in town too, so we encourage people to try to support the sponsors that are helping out."
"We have to get written permission from the landowners before we can put a trail across their land. It's very important to try to stay on the trail when you're crossing the farmer's land and to respect landowners' rights, so that we can continue to have a place to ride."