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Meeting Minutes

Blue Hills Trail Association Inc.

April 17, 2007 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, Tyler Gruetzmacher, Jan Paulsen, Al Sykes, Jerry Wilkes.

Non-members: none




Motion by Al Sykes, second by Dick Pebler, to accept the April 2006 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 income by $1705.16.  Despite the disappointing winter and resultant drop-off in trail visitors during January and February, we were able to afford the purchase of a new snowmobile without seriously depleting our cash reserves.  Discussion held.  Motion by Dick Pebler to approve the Treasurer's report as presented, seconded by Jerry Wilkes.  Unanimously carried.



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


Election of Officers


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


Old Business:


Reincorporation and 501C3 status: a big thank you to Al Sykes who filed the 501C3 application in 2006 and worked closely with the IRS.  The officers met October 14, 2006 to officially dissolve the Rusk County Trail Association and recognize the incorporation of the The Blue Hills Trail Association (BHTA).  BHTA subsequently was granted 501C3 status by the IRS December 28, 2006.  The State of Wisconsin then granted the BHTA a new tax exempt number (certificate of exempt status) in January of 2007.  The officers met in January 2007 to adopt a conflict of interest statement (see minutes of January 23, 2007).  Tom Paulsen created a new logo for use with the BHTA mailings.


Fall banquet: Al Sykes reported on the fall banquet hosted at the Blue Hills Inn.  This was a fun evening, the event was financially successful, 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: race was canceled due to lack of snow.  Minimal expenses were incurred ($50 to contracted timing service when canceling).


Website: those in attendance agreed the website remains very functional.  Tom Paulsen reported he did not bill the usual annual fee ($50) to business weblinks due to the lousy winter conditions, but he will distribute a mailing thanking these businesses for their past support while hoping for a rebound in wintry conditions in 2007-08 to bring success to all of our endeavors.


Fundraising: Jan and Tom Paulsen reported regarding 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.


Equipment: Carolyn Chatterton reported that our new Skandic snowmobile functioned well, and was a pleasure to operate.  Our two older snowmobiles both were unreliable.  One of those older machines was sold in March, the other is up for sale.  Carolyn Chatterton reported that our Yellowstone roller needs either repair or replacement (the roller has developed some cracks in the valleys of the plastic roller).


Grooming and trail maintenance: Carolyn Chatterton reported on the excellent bulldozing work provided by Gary Sarauer and funded by Rusk County.  This allowed us to abandon a portion of trail section 5-9 that had been susceptible to erosion, creating a new portion of that trail that skied well this past season.  Gary Sarauer then provided additional dozing help following the September 2006 deluge that washed out isolated trail sections on the West Side Trail.  The team approach for the October 2006 work day provided major bridge repair on the East Side Trail and was well attended, tiring but enjoyable.


Snowshoe trail: no action on this the past year.  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.  Mark Bittner mentioned he would be willing to help Gwen Westlund with this project.


New Business:


Banquet: A simplified approach for the 2007 fall fundraiser was discussed.  We decided to focus on a limited number of major prizes and silent auction items, and two raffles to consist of $250 gift certificates to perhaps New Moon, Outdoor Ventures, Riverbrook, Scheels, or Spring Street Sports.  Jerry Wilkes volunteered to find a banquet director to replace Al Sykes.  We will seriously consider offering a wine/beer/cheese tasting event -- optional locations might be the Blue Hills Inn, Lehman's in Rice Lake, Cameron House, or Weyerhaueser VFW.


Blue Hills Ascent: Bjorn Hanson has volunteered to be race chair again for 2008.  His previous enthusiastic ideas for expanding the race format will again be supported, with expectations that expenses be kept within reason, discussed with the BHTA officers ahead of time, and with the goal of at least breaking even.  Bjorn has the liberty to review the choice of date(s) for the race and select the best option (perhaps avoiding the same date as the 24 hours Telemark event).  Jerry Wilkes offered his skills in coordinating a snow dance to enhance race success.


Website: no major changes anticipated.  Tom Paulsen's goal is to keep it functional, simple, and to update frequently during ski season.


Equipment: Tom Paulsen noted we have adequate cash on hand to afford purchase of another new snowmobile.  Dick Pebler moved that we purchase a new Skandic to be available this next winter, this was seconded by Mark Bittner, the motion passed unanimously.  Howard and Carolyn Chatterton volunteered to make the arrangements for the purchase from the same business that supplied this last year's Skandic, and they offered to pick up the new machine.  Tyler Gruetzmacher suggested ideas for repair of the Yellowstone roller, and he and Carolyn Chatterton will try to accomplish the necessary repairs.


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.  A suggestion to offer website banner ads was entertained.  January 2007, the main Marshfield Clinic was noted to provide a $2000 donation to the Winter Park Ski Area to support their annual race, and Dick Pebler volunteered to determine the appropriate contact, with Tom Paulsen planning on seeking a similar donation to support our trail system and race.


Trail improvements:

  • Carolyn Chatterton has resigned her role as head of the trail maintenance committee, and she and Howard Chatterton were recognized for their many years of expertise in developing and refining the trail system.  Our officers need to find a replacement as soon as possible so we can plan summer dozing.
  • Frank Lowry remains in charge of bridge repair/replacement, with planning under way to replace the major bridge at #31 with a DNR approved bridge within the next 18 months, and possibly replacing the next major bridge between 31-2 at the same time.  These bridges are expected to each require materials costing about $2000 (including donated stringers), plus the expense of machine rental during installation.
  • Summertime mowing was discussed, with plans to utilize mowing services offered from Rusk County on the West Side and dry portions of the East Side.  Ideally, we would like to provide three mowings (late June, Labor Day, and late fall).  We will use our trail mower towed behind an ATV to mow the damper sections of the East Side, and will either use volunteer labor or hired labor for that task.  Mowing priority on the East Side will be given to the Core Loop, the Beginner Loop, the Hunter Walker Trails, and the Hemlock Canyon section (note that the Hemlock Canyon Trail is to be included in a brochure featuring 10 great hiking trails in the area).  Tom Paulsen volunteered to find individual(s) to handle the mowing chores.
  • To house snowmobiles in the winter and trail mower in the summer, Tom Paulsen received from Erik Ringstad a design of a 12x16 metal storage shed for construction at the trailhead.  Materials cost estimated at $2500, with the construction to be either supervised by hiring Erik Ringstad and/or using Jerry Wilkes' spirit of volunteerism as part of two workdays.  Al Sykes moved we construct this storage shed, a second from Howard Chatterton, the motion passed unanimously.
  • We need to set up a system to log the number of hours of volunteer work provided.  The hours volunteered may be reimbursable from the grant monies for which we are applying.  Tom Paulsen will work out a system and notify our membership of the importance of tracking our trail maintenance volunteer efforts year round.
  • Tom Paulsen has worked with Flambeau High School to create 25 new maps for placement at intersections on the East and West Side Trails.  The maps will be laser engraved on western red cedar, hopefully a material that will resist weather and critters alike.  The same laser engraver was utilized to create large maps to replace the vandalized map at the trailhead parking lot.  Many thanks for the generosity from Flambeau High School (teachers Bob McMahon and Bob Hindal, and student Trevor Stewart).


Grooming team: Carolyn Chatterton plans on grooming this next winter, Howard Chatterton to assist.  This will be their last year providing this service.  Dick Pebler will work with Carolyn in creating a job description for another groomer to be hired as an independent contractor to work with the Chattertons this next winter in anticipation of that individual taking over the grooming contract for the 2008-09 season.  Dick Pebler will work up an ad for a new groomer to be delivered to our membership first, then more widely advertising the position if necessary.


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


Ski Clinic: Mark Bittner offered to again coordinate 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, probably choosing a weekend day to coincide with our annual Blue Hills Ascent race.


Committee Designations

To be carried over with additions as highlighted in bold

  • Banquet Committee: Jerry Wilkes to find a chairperson
  • Blue Hills Ascent Committee: Bjorn Hansen (chair), Dave Olsen, Tom Paulsen
  • Equipment Committee: Carolyn Chatterton, Howard Chatterton
  • Fundraising: Jan Paulsen, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler
  • Grooming and Trail Maintenance Committee: Frank Lowry, Tyler Gruetzmacher -- Tom Paulsen to find the chairperson
  • Ski Clinic Committee: Mark Bittner
  • Snowshoe Trail: Gwen Westlund, Mark Bittner
  • Website: Tom Paulsen

Meeting Adjourned


Motion to adjourn by Jan Paulsen, second by Jerry Wilkes.  Adjourned at 10:00 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
  • Snowshoe Trail
  • Website Committee