County Receives Snowmobile Trail Grant Funds

News from Economic Development, Posted on Wed, 02/08/2006 - 4:44pm

Little Valley — Nine area snowmobile clubs that maintain trails in Cattaraugus County will benefit from annual snowmobile registration fees collected by New York State. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently awarded Cattaraugus County, the municipal sponsor, $190,737.50 in funding to help improve and maintain the 415 miles of funded snowmobile trails in Cattaraugus County. The additional 74 miles of trails in Allegany State Park receive funding separately. An increase in the NYS snowmobile registration fee has resulted in higher grant awards for the snowmobile clubs that develop and maintain trails across the state. These registration fees paid by snowmobilers provide the funding to perpetuate a statewide system of trails thereby needing no use of taxpayer funds.

“The key to the snowmobile trail program in New York is that it is part of a comprehensive system that includes funding for a Statewide Insurance Policy, Snowmobile Safety Courses, Law Enforcement, Groomer Training Courses and Trail Maintenance Grants” stated Gerard J. Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Cattaraugus County Legislature. “ This interconnected trail system is the result of thousands of hours of volunteer labor and cooperation of countless landowners,” said Mr. Fitzpatrick. Jerry Burrell, Chairman of the Development & Agriculture Committee commented, “Our Economic Development, Planning & Tourism Department is utilizing a number of tourism promotion efforts to build the snowmobiling economy here in the County”. “An updated snowmobiling brochure was again printed and distributed this year providing free trail maps to visitors which in addition, identifies numerous small businesses along the trail that offer snowmobilers assorted services” said Burrell.

Jim Boser, Vice of Chair of the Development & Ag. Committee, pointed out the fact that, “A broad range of integrated marketing tools are utilized by the Department to generate tourism revenues from snowmobiling. “Examples include; the County Travel Guide, Enchanted Mountains website and toll free Tourism Information Line”. “New marketing efforts this year include a cover story feature in the New York Snowmobiler magazine and special insert of the County Snowmobile Trail Guide in the November issue”.

Representatives from the Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, Inc. attended a special ceremony today in the Cattaraugus County legislative chambers to accept the grant award from the County Legislature. The Cattaraugus County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, Inc. comprised of representation from all nine active snowmobile clubs in the County, prepared the initial grant application on behalf of the County and will handle distribution of the funds to all nine clubs receiving funding this year. The Federation President Jim Lemke, Trail Coordinator, Tom Hill, and Federation Secretary Lisa Foster along with countless other volunteers coordinated this lengthy process whereby all the clubs access trail funding through one municipal sponsor (Cattaraugus County). Tom Hill stressed the fact that “credit for the 415 mile trail system goes first and foremost to the landowners for their cooperation, without which, none of this would be possible.” “The intent of the statewide system is to keep snowmobilers on clearly designated trails rather than on lands where their use is not permitted,” he said. The statewide insurance policy provides protection for those landowners that participate in the approved trail system.

The Department of Economic Development, Planning & Tourism again assisted the Snowmobile Federation in securing trail grant funding from NYS Parks. Thomas Livak, Department Director, explained the importance of growing tourism niche markets like snowmobiling. The statewide inter-connected trail system (currently over 10,000 miles) promotes “snowmobile touring” which is a growing activity among snowmobiling enthusiasts.

Snowmobiling is a growing family sport that provides a great quality of life for local residents while also attracting outside visitors to the area. The small businesses scattered throughout the County benefit from visitor spending which totals over $16 million per year. It is important to note that signed snowmobile trails can be found in virtually every township in the County and many Villages as well.

Snowmobilers are known for driving long distances to reach key destinations in Canada, the Adirondacks and New England, but Western New York offers an excellent close convenient option. Snowmobiling has become a major economic engine for some communities already with daily expenditures reaching $100 per snowmobiler. The total economic impact (direct and indirect spending) in NYS is estimated at $875,000,000. The reason for such significant impacts are largely due to the shift in the sport. Snowmobiling has become more of a touring activity where enthusiasts ride 100 to 200 miles per day spending substantial amounts of money on fuel, food and lodging which also means sales tax revenues for the County. New York State currently has nearly 170,000 registered snowmobiles and over 10,000 miles of funded trails providing excellent “touring” opportunities for the snowmobiler.

For more information on Snowmobiling in the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County contact Cattaraugus County Tourism at 1-800-331-0543 or visit our website at www.enchantedmountains.info.

Remember: Please ride safe and ride with respect. Please consider joining a snowmobile club in your area. It is through the hard work of these volunteer-based not-for-profit groups that residents and visitors alike have access to such a great network of trails.

Enjoy snowmobiling in the Enchanted Mountains!

Snowmobile Clubs Receiving Trail Grant Funds include:

Ashford Snowmobile Club, Inc. $8,400
Elibomwons, Inc. $28,025
Enchanted Mountain Snowmobile Club, Inc $20,500
Franklinville Snowsled Club, Inc. $28,000
Portville Snowmobile Club, Inc. $15,125
Snow Bounders, Inc. $58,650
Southern Tier Snowdrifters, Inc. $11,712.50
Tri-County Drift Hoppers, Inc. $15,600
Western New York Snowmobile Club of Boston, Inc. $4,725
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