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Meeting Minutes

Rusk County Trail Association

April 13, 2006 8:05 PM

Meeting called to order

by Howard Chatterton, president, at 7:05 p.m. at Lehman's, Rice Lake




Officers: Howard Chatterton, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler

Members: Mark Bittner, Carolyn Chatterton, Nels Curnow, Pam Gaffney, Bjorn Hanson, Jan Paulsen, Jonathan Stanley, Al Sykes.

Non-members: none




Motion by Al Sykes, second by Nels Curnow, to dispense with reading of the prior minutes.  Unanimously carried.


Treasurer's Report


Presented by Tom Paulsen.  Income exceeded expenses.  This was a good year for receipts from the donation pole in the parking lot.  Discussion held.  Motion to approve the Treasurer's report as presented.  Unanimously carried.



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


Old Business:


501C3 status: Howard Chatterton and Al Sykes have worked on furthering the details for the 501C3 application.  In order to facilitate this, Al is ready to file for re-incorporation as the Blue Hills Trail Association.  This gives us a fresh start and an opportunity to change our name to better reflect the regional nature of our organization.  A motion to proceed with the re-incorporation and name change was accepted and unanimously passed.  The official announcement of the re-incorporation/name change will accompany the fall mailing to members and businesses.


Fall banquet: Al Sykes reported on the fall banquet hosted at the Blue Hills Inn.  The event was financially successful, attendance was good, the method used for prize distribution worked well.


Blue Hills Ascent: race report was supplied by Bjorn Hanson.  The race course was in good shape, attendance was lower than expected perhaps due to lack of snow in Eau Claire and the Twin Cities.  The race did generate a small amount of positive revenue.  Bjorn's excellent efforts in administering the race were acknowledged.


Website: Tom Paulsen reported the frustrations associated with an address change necessitated when CenturyTel altered its format for website addresses August 2005.  We continue to receive many positive comments regarding the website's usefulness.


Fundraising: Jan and Tom Paulsen reported regarding the generally positive response from businesses and individuals when contacted on behalf of RCTA.  Dick Pebler's fundraising efforts in the Rice Lake area have been very helpful.  Members discussed the goodwill generated by shopping with our business donors.  A suggestion to create a trailhead display of business donors was entertained.


Equipment: Carolyn Chatterton reported that snowmobile malfunctions were a major grooming frustration this past winter, requiring frequent repairs that were costly in terms of dollars spent, transportation hassles, and interruption of grooming.  The two machines have accumulated 4000 and 5000 miles, and one grooming consultant has suggested that 4000 miles is about the life expectancy for this type of a workhorse snowmobile.


Grooming and trail maintenance: Carolyn Chatterton reported on the excellent bulldozing work provided by Gary Sarauer and funded by Rusk County.  His work was especially appreciated following the September 2005 deluge that washed out isolated trail sections.  The team approach that built the new bridge at #25 on the East Side Trail was a fun work day October 2005.


Snowshoe trail: Howard Chatterton opened discussion regarding development of a snowshoe trail.  There appears to be ongoing interest, signs have already been prepared, we just need to find a group of individuals willing to actually sign and clear a trail.  Perhaps we will designate one day this fall as a snowshoe trail work day for interested individuals.


New Business:


Banquet: Howard Chatterton will try to locate a volunteer by May 1st to chair the fall banquet.


Blue Hills Ascent: Bjorn Hanson volunteered to be race chair again for 2007.  He presented many ideas for enhancing the race including:

  1. changing to a Saturday instead of Sunday
  2. kids' race to be managed by Bill Cutsforth (Rice Lake)
  3. pursuit race using the beginners' loop, with a registration fee of $50, registration limited to 100 skiers, prize of perhaps $500
  4. 12k race to follow the pursuit race
  5. raise the entry fee by $5 and include the meal in the entry fee
  6. goodie bag with a scraper from Rice Lake Glass & Door carrying the Blue Hills Trail logo
  7. develop a reason to spend Saturday night in the area with a fun family ski day anticipated on Sunday
  8. create more of a race feel by incorporating banners and fancy finish line utilizing corporate logos
  9. enhance promotion.

Bjorn's enthusiasm and all of these ideas were well received by those in attendance.


Website: Tom Paulsen is interested in changing the website address to a more friendly format such as (which is available).  This would help avoid future name changes, and more accurately reflect our organization.  This concept was accepted by those in attendance, with the suggestion that we try contacting the Rice Lake Chronotype to discuss web hosting fees (rather than using an outside service such as Yahoo).


Equipment: the snowmobiles are aging (see earlier discussion under Old Business).  The group decided to purchase a new Skandic to be available this next winter.  Officers will look for help with funding from Rice Lake Tourism and Rusk County Tourism.  Tom Paulsen suggested a rotation whereby we purchase a new snowmobile every two years with an expected life expectancy of four years for each machine.


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 RCTA members.


Trail improvements: to be supervised by Carolyn and Howard Chatterton.  Nels Curnow volunteered his help in mowing, grooming, and signing the West Side Trail and we all recognized the significant number of skiers that enjoy using that part of the trail system to exercise their dogs.


Warming house: Bjorn Hanson has the exterior stain for use on May 10 when a volunteer group from Flambeau High School (as offered by Doug Spielman) will be available.  Methods of cleaning the exterior and chinking the logs were discussed.


Work Day: to be selected this fall.


Membership Dues: continue fees of $25 (individual) and $45 (family), with a $5 daily donation recommended for non-members.


Ski Clinic: Mark Bittner suggested a one-day ski clinic to incorporate lessons from Riverbrook Bike and Ski.  This idea was well received, with the suggestion that participants be expected to pay a fee, and Riverbrook provide any necessary rental equipment.  Mark volunteered to take charge of this project.


Committee Designations

To be carried over with additions as highlighted in bold

  • Banquet Committee: Howard Chatterton to seek a chairperson
  • Blue Hills Ascent Committee: Bjorn Hansen (chair), Dave Olsen, Tom Paulsen
  • Equipment Committee: Carolyn Chatterton, Howard Chatterton, Nels Curnow
  • Fundraising: Jan Paulsen, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler
  • Grooming and Trail Maintenance Committee: Carolyn Chatterton, Frank Lowry, Dick Pebler, Nels Curnow
  • Ski Clinic Committee: Mark Bittner
  • Snowshoe Trail: Howard Chatterton to offer this committee to Gwen Westlund, Jim Jenkins, Mary Jenkins
  • Website: Tom Paulsen


Election of Officers


Al Sykes nominated Howard Chatterton for president, Dick Pebler for vice president, Tom Paulsen for secretary/treasurer.  The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.

Meeting Adjourned


Motion to adjourn by Dick Pebler, second by Tom Paulsen.  Adjourned at 9:00 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
  • Website Committee