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Meeting Minutes

Blue Hills Trail Association Inc.

April 12, 2008 8:05 PM

Meeting called to order

by Jerry Wilkes, president, at 7:05 p.m. at Blue Hills Inn, Weyerhaeuser




Officers: Jerry Wilkes, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler

Members: Mark Bittner, Jan Paulsen, Jonathan Stanley

Non-members: none




Motion by Mark Bittner, second by Dick Pebler, to dispense with reading of the prior minutes and to accept the April 2007 minutes.  Unanimously carried.


Treasurer's Report


The fiscal year runs September 1 to August 31 inclusive.  An interim budget report was presented by Tom Paulsen.  Expenses exceeded revenue by $8255.01.  We incurred more expenses this fiscal year than at any time in the past (big items included purchase of another new snowmobile, construction of the storage shed at the trailhead, bridge repair at #25, mowing, grooming, race expenses, and rising fuel costs - propane to heat the warming house, and gas to fuel the mower and snowmobiles).  Fortunately, donations also were generous.  Our bottom line shows a positive balance at this time (available cash) of $3251.44.  We have enough cash on hand to cover the costs of anticipated summer mowing and trail projects.  Discussion was held.  Motion by Mark Bittner to approve the Treasurer's report as presented, seconded by Dick Pebler.  Unanimously carried.



  • Election of officers
  • Old Business
  • New Business
  • Designate committee members for the upcoming year


Election of Officers


Jan Paulsen nominated Jerry Wilkes for president, seconded by Jonathan Stanley, and with no other nominations for president, Jerry Wilkes was elected unanimously.  Jan Paulsen nominated Dick Pebler for vice president, seconded by Jonathan Stanley, and with no other nominations for vice president, Dick Pebler was elected unanimously.  Jan Paulsen nominated Tom Paulsen for secretary/treasurer, seconded by Jonathan Stanley, and with no other nominations for secretary/treasurer, Tom Paulsen was elected unanimously.


Old Business:


Bank signatures: With Jerry Wilkes as our new president in 2007, Tom Paulsen contacted Dairyland State Bank (Bruce), and Ladysmith Federal Savings and Loan with instructions to replace signing privileges for Howard Chatterton with signing privileges for Jerry Wilkes.  Howard and Jerry need to stop at the banks to complete the necessary documents.


Fall banquet: Tom & Jan Paulsen reported that the event was marginally financially successful (most of the income is from the pre-banquet sale of raffle tickets), attendance was reduced compared with past years, the method used for prize distribution worked well, but again the fundraising team perhaps went overboard on the number of prizes available.


Blue Hills Ascent: the race was held during very good snow conditions.  Attendance was disappointing, possibly related to plenty of snow for competing race venues.  Revenue and expense details were reviewed.  Overall, we lost about $400.


Website: those in attendance agreed the website remains very functional.  We continue to receive annual financial backing in the form of paid links from Spring Street Sports (Chippewa Falls) and AmericInn Lodge and Suites (Ladysmith).



  • Last year's grant request from federal sources and the DNR recieved no funding.
  • Tom Paulsen and Dick Pebler reported the generally positive response from businesses and individuals when contacted on behalf of BHTA.  Dick Pebler's fundraising efforts in the Rice Lake area have been very helpful.  Tom reported very good results with generous donations from businesses and individuals alike.  Our organization could not function without this type of support.


Equipment: The second (and last) of our older Skandic snowmobiles was sold in April 2007.  To allow tandem grooming, we purchased a used (like new) Yellowstone roller from Steve Brockman summer 2007 for the price of $1000.  Carolyn Chatterton repaired the cracks in the valleys of our older Yellowstone roller.  We took delivery on our new Skandic snowmobile in late November and it worked well.  An accidental puncture of the 'radiators' of one snowmobile necessitated a repair bill of approximately $500.


Grooming and trail maintenance:

  • Jonathan Stanley accepted the role of head of trail maintenance and grooming.
  • With help from Frank Lowry and Tom Paulsen and many volunteers, and consultation from Paul Teska and Gary Sarauer (Rusk County and DNR reps), a new trail was laid out to allow future bypass of a major bridge between #31 and #2.  Thanks to many volunteers flagging the trail, then later providing chainsaw skills, work on this trail was completed in early September.  
  • The storage shed project was spearheaded by Jerry Wilkes in August/September resulting in a well constructed building that will house our snowmobiles in the winter and our mower in the summer.  A large number of volunteers helped during various stages of shed construction. 
  • We contracted Steve Brockman for mowing summer of 2007 and this was accomplished without problem.  More than $600 was spent on needed repair of the mower and trailer.  Rusk County mowed the WestSide and a limited portion of the EastSide.  One of our members has kindly allowed winter storage of the mower in his barn.
  • The bridge at #25 was mysteriously washed out (we suspect an upstream beaver dam suddenly failed).  Using volunteer labor, Frank Lowry coordinated efforts to replace this bridge at a cost of about $700.
  • The water crossing on the WestSide between J-K was heavily eroded and in September required a load of fractured rock ($300) plus bulldozing to create a rock ford - then later requiring two sheets of 4x8 plywood (with 2x4 bracing) to bridge the water at that site.
  • The Town of Atlanta was hired at a cost of $200 to mow the sides of the gravel road (#1 to #29) to remove the intruding brambles,
  • Tom Paulsen completed the varnishing of the laser engraved maps donated by Flambeau High School, then placed the maps.  Unfortunately, critters have been attracted to these maps, either breaking them off or removing them entirely.  The metal map holders used on the EastSide appear to be the best signage solution so far.
  • Summer of 2007, Jerry, Dick and Tom interviewed two candidates for the position of groomer.  Dan Bartels accepted a contract and trained with Carolyn Chatterton this past winter.
  • The fall work day focused on fine tuning of the new trail between #2A and #23A, and on repair of the bridge at #25.
  • Carolyn Chatterton has provided a timeline for trail maintenance duties - a copy of this timeline was distributed.


Snowshoe trail: no action on this the past year.


Warming house: caulking was not accomplished last year (miscommunication between Tom Paulsen and Bjorn Hanson).  In November 2007, Kevin Westlund placed fiberglass insulation in the interior to seal visible gaps.


Wax clinic: Dick Pebler set up a waxing clinic in Rice Lake (Gary Johnson's home) in early December 2007 that was well attended.


Ski clinic: Steve and Jyneen Thatcher (members from the Twin Cities) provided ski lessons on a Saturday in December 2007 that raised about $150 for our organization.  Cindy Swift (Riverbrook) provided ski lessons on the Sunday following our race (January 2008) that raised $80 for our organization.


New Business:


Fall Banquet: A simplified approach for the 2008 fall fundraiser was discussed.  We decided to focus on a limited number of major prizes and silent auction items, and two major raffles.  It was agreed that this fall's banquet should probably be hosted in Ladysmith (Tee Away or Club 8), and prizes should be scaled back.  Jerry Wilkes agreed to work on an ad hoc committee to consider redesign of the banquet event.


Blue Hills Ascent: Bjorn Hanson has volunteered to be race chair again for 2009.  To avoid losing money, we discussed dropping the race in the future since it involves a lot of volunteer time, and no guarantee of profit.  For now, we decided to try hosting the race again but to minimize costs by:

  1. Performing the timing ourselves (hand timing) and notifying racers of this change
  2. Avoid the 2K race
  3. Avoid advertising
  4. In a January officers' meeting, Jerry volunteered to speak with Brian at Gear West (Twin Cities) for an outside opinion regarding race suggestions.  Jerry will speak with Dan Bale to obtain additional suggestions regarding ski races that Bjorn may find helpful.  Bottom line - club membership should not have to subsidize the race.


Website:  Tom Paulsen's goal is to keep it functional, simple, and to update frequently during ski season.  Bjorn Hanson discovered a Rice Lake business willing to provide free web hosting services.  This same business has reserved our domain name as  Later this year, Tom will shift the website to the new server, and start using our new and hopefully permanent website address.



  • Carolyn Chatterton earlier sent an email communication that our TT6 ( Tidd Tech Trail Tenderizer) grooming implement was of little use this past season.  The newer grooming implements we are using are far more functional.  Carolyn has initiated talks with Dan Bale regarding possible sale of this older Tidd Tech to the Lakeville School District.  Carolyn has recommended future purchase of a small G2 (Generation 2 Tidd Tech) implement to allow tandem grooming with G2 implements.  The cost of a small G2 would be $3000 minimum.  We decided to postpone purchase of new equipment pending replenishment of our cash reserves.
  • Dan Bartels has agreed to handle spring and fall maintenance of the snowmobiles (hopefully this would be cost effective).


Fundraising: Tom and Jan Paulsen will again spearhead the fall fundraising with help from Dick Pebler representing the Rice Lake area.  As in the past, their appeals will focus on supportive individuals and businesses, and BHTA members.  Tom will investigate the possibility of resubmitting the DNR grant.


Trail improvements:

  • Frank Lowry remains in charge of bridge repair/replacement, and has recommended we shore up support of the bridge at #23.  He will direct this effort during dry conditions.
  • To avoid future bridge replacement, the members of the trail maintenance committee will consider alternate routes between #1 and #31; and between #2 and #20.
  • Summertime mowing will be accomplished the same as in 2007 with BHTA mowing the damp areas on the East Side using our trail mower pulled by an ATV, and asking Rusk County to mow the rest of the trail system.
  • Grooming and mowing implements will be stored by one of our club members (name withheld from website).
  • Jonathan Stanley suggested we create a large map of the trail system for display inside the warming house.  Tom Paulsen will work on this.


Grooming team: Dan Bartels provided good grooming during his first season, and his contract will continue.  A new contract will be offered to Steve Brockman who has groomed our trails in the past, and is eager to join our grooming team this coming winter.  Frank Lowry has expressed interest in serving as an alternate (third) groomer - details to be finalized.


Warming house: exterior caulking needs to be accomplished this year.  Officers will work out the details with Bjorn Hanson (discussing purchase versus donation of materials and labor).


Work Day: to be selected this fall.


Membership Dues: current fees are $25 (individual) and $45 (family), with a $5 daily donation recommended for non-members.  Due to rising costs, we need to increase the membership fees in each category by $10.  This will only cover the cost of gas price increases, and propane price increases.  The new fees will go into effect October 1st - $35 (individual) and $55 (family).  The recommended $5 daily donation for non-members will not change.  Ideally, we'd like to see the membership fees cover almost all the annual costs.  This would require an individual fee of $100, and a family fee of $200.  For now, we will continue to rely on the generosity of individual and business donors, and encourage our members to donate monies to more honestly reflect their usage of the trail system.


Ski Clinic: Mark Bittner offered to again coordinate a one-day ski clinic to incorporate lessons from Riverbrook Bike and Ski, probably choosing a weekend day to coincide with our annual Blue Hills Ascent race.  If Steve and Jyneen Thatcher would again be interested in hosting a ski clinic on the trail system at their convenience, that would certainly be welcome.


Snowshoe trail: signs have already been prepared, we just need to find a group of individuals willing to actually sign and clear a trail.  No major interest expressed by those in attendance.


Benefactors: earlier today, the website received an email expressing interest in donating monies toward an item for the trails that BHTA would find useful.  Tom Paulsen has begun discussion with the involved parties.


Committee Designations

To be carried over with additions as highlighted in bold

  • Banquet Committee: Jerry Wilkes to establish ad hoc committee
  • Blue Hills Ascent Committee: Bjorn Hansen (chair), Dave Olsen, Tom Paulsen
  • Equipment Committee: Carolyn Chatterton (unconfirmed)
  • Fundraising: Jan Paulsen, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler
  • Grooming and Trail Maintenance Committee: Jonathan Stanley (chair), Frank Lowry, Tyler Gruetzmacher
  • Ski Clinic Committee: Mark Bittner
  • Snowshoe Trail: Gwen Westlund (unconfirmed)
  • Website: Tom Paulsen

Meeting Adjourned


Motion to adjourn by Dick Pebler, second by Mark Bittner.  Adjourned at 9:05 p.m.




Taken by Tom Paulsen, Secretary


A Listing of Active Committees

  • Banquet Committee
  • Blue Hills Ascent Committee
  • Equipment Committee
  • Fundraising Committee
  • Grooming and Trail Maintenance Committee
  • Ski Clinic
  • Snowshoe Trail
  • Website Committee