VP Notes An Educational Whirlwind As I sit by the bank of the English River, in Ear Falls Ontario, Canada I reflect upon the past four months. Although I am very passionate about snowmobiling and always felt like I knew the issues facing our sport, it turns out that maybe I didn’t know as much as I had thought. These past four months have been a whirlwind of learning and gaining knowledge for me. For example, ACSA. Yes, I know that it means the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and I know what they stand for, and how they help the AWSC, but do you really know what they do for us as snowmobilers? They are made up from all the state snowmobile associations and broken down into chapters by regions. Wisconsin is a member of the Midwest Chapter. ACSA is a national organization that unites the snowmobile community and promotes snowmobiling as a safe, fun and environmentally friendly family sport. Because snowmobiling is enjoyed by millions of people across the United States, it is imperative that we have a strong national organization. This organization is the voice for snowmobiling on a national level. You may not think that these national issues affect Wisconsin but they do. Just a few of the issues that ACSA tackles are the RTP funds (those are the funds that we get from the federal gas tax multiplier), and without them we wouldn’t have near the funding that we have to groom and maintain our trails. They have taken on the travel management rule, which designated a system of roads, trails, and areas that have been approved for recreational motor vehicles; that rule was challenged by the Winter Wildlands Alliance which requires the forest service to conduct more analysis relating to designated roads, trails and areas open or closed to snowmobiling. These are only a few of the issues that ACSA tackles at the national level. ACSA keeps up with these issues, monitors what happens on these issues, and makes sure that each state knows how they will ultimately be affected by these issues. ACSA also assists state organizations with defending these issues. Probably the most important event that ACSA organizes is called the D.C. Fly In. This is an event where most state associations send their representatives to Washington, D.C. to lobby the Senators and Congressmen about the national issues that we are experiencing. ACSA also selects the national “of the year awards.” These awards are selected from nominations submitted by each state to ACSA to recognize the people who work hard to keep our sport growing. This year John Hartwig Motorsports of Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, received the ACSA Dealer of the Year award. So in closing, keep in mind that there is more than just riding to the sport of snowmobiling. Without people at the national level we all face the chance of losing the sport and trails that we have. Think about the people that have been here before us and have made Wisconsin a great place to snowmobile. See you all on the trails! CHANGE IS COMING… The New Wisconsin Snowmobile Trail Pass For over a decade, the AWSC has been actively pursuing ways to help fund Wisconsin’s snowmobile program while garnering more members for the clubs that volunteer countless hours developing and maintaining the extensive network of trails crisscrossing the state. Over the years, we have come to know the AWSC’s legislative efforts as the Club Assistance Program (CAP), the Snowmobile Trail Enhancement Program (STEP), and most recently the CAP/STEP Initiative. Although it has been a long and sometimes tumultuous journey, it has been one that the majority of AWSC’s members saw as essential to the future of the state’s snowmobile program, and they worked hard to educate their fellow snowmobilers and elected officials about why changes in the funding system was needed. On Wednesday, March 19, Governor Scott Walker added his signature to Assembly Bill 407, officially proclaiming a new era for Wisconsin’s snowmobile program with the introduction of the 2013 Wisconsin Act 142 which will take effect on July 1, 2015. The AWSC is now working with the DNR on the particulars of how best to implement the New Wisconsin Trail Pass. In the months ahead, we will be providing addition information on the New Wisconsin Trail Pass including answers to the most frequently asked questions and how clubs can best prepare for their role in the new program. There will also be informational sessions available at the Fall Workshops being held in Wisconsin Dells on October 31-November 2. HOW THE NEW SNOWMOBILE TRAIL PASS WILL WORK • • • • • Effective July 1, 2015, snowmobile registration will cost $30/3 year, a change from the current $30/2 year. All snowmobiles operating in Wisconsin will now be required to display a Wisconsin Trail Pass (purchased separately from snowmobile registration). Increases the non-resident trail pass fee from the current $35/year to $50/year. Includes a 4-year sunset clause (2019) on Act 142, which requires re-evaluation by the legislature prior to renewal of the Wisconsin Trail Pass program. The annual (yearly) Wisconsin Trail Pass will be available to members who belong to both a snowmobile club and the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) for $10 through the AWSC office in DeForest for each of your Wisconsin registered snowmobiles. Snowmobile owners who don’t hold membership in these groups will pay $30 for the required Wisconsin Trail Pass through the DNR. Your snowmobile club will be responsible for your AWSC membership, which makes you eligible for the discounted Wisconsin Trail Pass. The Wisconsin Trail Pass is brand new in 2015 and is a separate item from your snowmobile registration. Non-residents may purchase a discounted trail pass if their snowmobile is registered in Wisconsin and they belong to a snowmobile club and the AWSC. Revenue generated from the sale of snowmobile registrations and Wisconsin Trail Passes will be deposited into the state snowmobile segregated fund, which is used to pay snowmobile clubs to maintain and develop the trails. Wisconsin trails are made possible by snowmobile club volunteers who provide the labor to brush, sign and groom the trails and the landowners who allow trails to cross their property. • • • • For more information on the Wisconsin Trail Pass, please visit the AWSC website at www.awsc.org or the WI DNR website at dnr.wi.gov and search “snowmobile” or call (888) 936-7463. September 2014 7