B.C. Club News: Stop being the lame duck

by Peter Doyle

A snowmobile shreds through snow in front of towering mountains.
Speak up in support of your club and utilize your personal social media channels to bring awareness to the importance of supporting organized snowmobiling. Photo courtesy Billy Stevens

Welcome to the 2019/2020 snowmobiling season! We’re excited to kick off the season with one of the most important components of organized snowmobiling—membership stimulus—which matters more now than ever before. There are those determined to shut us out of the backcountry, and your biggest force to preserve and protect the sport of snowmobiling in B.C. is the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation and our member clubs.

Here are the top five lame excuses for not buying a BCSF membership:

1. I pay my taxes. I shouldn’t have to pay to ride on Crown land.
2. I was born and raised here and don’t need a membership to ride in my backyard.
3. Snowmobiling is expensive. I don’t have money to buy a membership.
4. I only ride the area a couple times a year so I shouldn’t have to buy a membership.
5. Memberships are a money grab. My club doesn’t do anything for me. 

Where does your membership money go?

• Trail development, grooming, signage and maintenance;
• Cabin construction, insurance, maintenance and repairs;
• Lobby efforts provincially and federally to preserve and protect our B.C. riding areas;
• Important studies and documentation including a provincial economic impact study;
• Events and safety programs.

Those are only a handful of the many examples demonstrating the financial expenditures your local club and the provincial federation cover yearly. Each BCSF member club contributes a portion of its local club’s membership money to the federation, making initiatives such as the snowmobile economic impact study prepared by MNP’s Economics and Research practice a reality.  They are one of the most well-respected firms in B.C. and unfortunately do not take payment in thank yous and high fives. 

Money for initiatives such as this must come from somewhere and that somewhere is your membership. During negotiations when the BCSF can present impressive numbers—like $299.2 million that snowmobiling contributes to the B.C. economy, suddenly snowmobilers are much more valuable and respected. 

We have worked so hard over the past few years, merging two provincial organizations into the one federation. That was a massive undertaking but absolutely worth it. We have been developing solid relationships with those in the provincial and federal government along with their staff, giving more power to our voice. As mentioned earlier, the long-awaited economic impact study has been completed, giving us a much more solid provincial foundation. Our ducks are in a row, we just need you now.

Out of the 45,000 potential memberships that could be purchased in the province of British Columbia, we had a mere 7,000.  While trail passes are appreciated, it’s your membership that matters most.

There are many ways you can help us increase our provincial membership numbers. Bring a buddy to your club’s membership drive, perhaps someone who’s never actually been a member of your club. Be a voice!  Speak up in support of your club and utilize your personal social media channels to bring awareness to the importance of supporting organized snowmobiling. 

The situation is quite serious right now because our northern clubs are facing the possibility of land closures. While you may be geographically separated, you are connected through the federation. A membership purchased in the south, the west and the east will absolutely support our friends in the north. We truly are one.

To those out there who are active supporters and volunteers for a snowmobile club within the federation, thank you. There’s one individual I’d like to send out a special shout out to: Nicole Matei, who is a passionate rider and true ambassador of our sport. Last season, she wrote an article entitled Nobody Rides For Free that perfectly sums up the situation we face.

“Remember, every time your sled rolls through the trailhead kiosk counter, you are investing right back into your own riding experience,” said Nicole.

I have a personal goal this season being the “new president on the block.” Last season 7,000 memberships were purchased; my goal is to help increase our memberships to 15,000. Working together, we can do this. 

For more information on our member clubs, to purchase a membership, to view the economic impact study or to read Nicole’s article, please visit www.bcsf.org.

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