Early snow provides club opportunity to test trail
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
The snow provides the perfect trail riding weather, and according to Aaron Dorothy of the Ridgeblasters Snowmobile Club, that’s exactly what the club members have been doing.
“So far, the trail has been working out really well. We are finding a few minor things that we would like to change for next year, but for the most part, it’s good,” said Dorothy. “Overall, we would like to add more to the trail and connect the rest of the cities of Henry County, but this is a start.”
The club has used the trails for the most part already this winter. The early snow has allowed them to test out the route and to see how it works. “With mother nature always doing her part, I know over the past weekend, a number of snowmobilers went out to put a few miles on the trails, and a group even went for a ride to try out these new trails. The limited snow at the north end of the county made it only possible to ride part of the trails,” Dorothy said.
Dorothy had been told by some people that it seemed like it was a bit much to spend so much time on creating the trails, when they may only use them 15 days the year. Dorothy responded with “Yep, that’s true. But we love the sport!”
The club has plans for the trail in the future and hopes to keep to adding to it over the years. “Our ultimate goal is to eventually connect our trails with the Eastern Iowa SledHeads to our north in Washington and Louisa Counties, this would allow for a continuous ride through the state of Iowa,” he said.
The Ridgeblasters don’t just ride snowmobiles though. According to Dorothy, they participate in events such as the Old Threshers parade and Salem Old Settlers parade, and this year they set up a booth at the Holiday Stroll in New London. The booth held information on snowmobiles, had snowmobiles on display and even had a snowmobile simulator for the public to try. “We are currently planning a fun run in the near future, which is just a fun way to get all the snowmobilers together and enjoy the trails,” Dorothy added.
The club, according to Dorothy, has about 32 family memberships, which is about a 300 percent increase over the past years. “Snowmobiling isn’t just something the guys do, it is a family recreation. We have a number of families in our club that everyone from the spouse to the children are riding. We also have a few fathers who have been members over the past years, and now their sons and families are members,” Dorothy said.
It wasn’t all easy getting started this year though; the club did face some minor setbacks as the season came about. Dorothy discussed how they obtained insurance, which helped their cause in getting the trails completed this year. “Our trail insurance, which covers both the trail on the county and any trail that would use private land, is supplied by the Iowa DNR through V&V Insurance in Cresco, Iowa. V&V insurance provides approximately 80 percent of the insurance of snowmobilers in Iowa,” Dorothy said. “It’s required to have and it protects us and the landowners.”
Also, the club this year had to talk with the Iowa State Snowmobile Association in order to obtain signs.
“After we reached out for help, we had 15 clubs donate signs to our cause. We were able to obtain enough signs to cover our trail and even have enough to start when and if we expand the trail,” Dorothy said.
It took about five weekends to gather the signs, to purchase and prepare them for posting, and putting the signs up on the trail. “We had the help of about 10 guys and we got it done,” Dorothy said.
Overall, Dorothy feels that what they are doing is a good thing and hope to see more trails in the coming years. He finished by saying; “We look forward to working on and adding to this trail in the future. We also look forward to working with landowners to expand our trails. We are working hard to provide snowmobilers of Henry County and the surrounding area with designated, signed, insured, groomed trails, and to promote safe and fun snowmobiling for all ages.”