By Darren Lum
Published Jan. 29 2019
This time of year when the wind howls and the snow gusts the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association is busy working the trails but its members are still hoping for more snow.
Mother Nature is hard to predict. Since 1971 the HCSA has rolled with the punches and done their best to sign and groom their trail system which is 370 kilometres.
One thing the HCSA has appreciated the past two years has been the contribution from the Haliburton eatery McKecks Tap and Grill.
McKecks owner Aaron Walker who owns and operates the restaurant with wife Melissa Walker was happy to donate $1000 this year bringing a two-year total to $2500.
“It’s a great partnership and definitely the HCSA is probably the largest driver of tourism here in the winter. We support that 100 per cent” he said.
The donation for the not-for-profit HCSA is timely as it comes when the association is establishing and grooming trails.
HCSA executive members president Dave Lloyd vice-president Craig Bowker directors Margo Ross Tom Nicholson and John Enright were in attendance to accept the $1000 donation on Thursday Jan. 24 in Haliburton. How the money will be used was expected to be decided at the association’s meeting this past Monday.
Bowker said last year’s $1500 donated by McKecks was “sprinkled” around contributing to different needs by the HCSA.
He adds a “good portion” was allocated to health and safety equipment.
Bowker appreciates the donation and the gesture this donation represents.
“It’s a great thing that McKecks is the one who steps forward without being prompted to make this kind of donation. It’s not like we solicit donations but they’ve come out of their own free will to do this because they recognize the economic impact that snowmobile tourism has on this community and it’s amazing that there are a lot of other people and businesses in the community that benefit from snowmobile tourism but don’t come forward” he said. “It’s important to see that this is one of our major economic drivers in our slow season and having contributions not just from the private sector but the public sector are welcome.”
Lloyd said as far as the condition of the trails go they are where they want them to be at this time of year.
“We didn’t have a lot of snow to start the season but we did get out very early this year and pack [the trail down]. With the unseasonably cold weather we had early in the season what that did was it tightened up the wet spots we normally struggle with early in the season … made the ponds hard and the beaver dams hard and the swamps [hard] and things like that” he said. “We were able to get out. We were out packing [the trail]. We’ve got a decent base and now with that little bit of snow we got last night [Wednesday Jan. 23] the groomers were out today. And actually trails are going very close to green now.”
Eighty per cent of the trails are open at this point.
Lloyd said the network’s north trails are “doing better than the south.”
Among the trails closed include the Gooderham run from Haliburton.
The rain storm that hit the area on Wednesday night caused damage that the volunteers will help to resolve.
“We’re encouraged by the snow that we had so we’re hoping to have everything open this year” he said.