Blue Hills Trail CONDITIONS
Good fall color. A small segment of the East Side trails still needs mowing (look at the mowing report below). Trails involved in logging this past year have a dirt surface rather than grass (see logging notes under 'Important Updates').
Insect activity is low.
1-Logging on the West Side between intersections Y & Z was done in June.
2-Autumn 2022, loggers cut a large timber sale on the East Side. It's probably wise to avoid hiking those trails in all but very dry weather. Click here for a map showing the involved trails.
April 30: damp leaf top dusting
grooming & MOWING
Blue Hills Trail Association Inc.
June 12, 2013 8:05 PM
Meeting called to order
by Dick Pebler, president, at 7:05 p.m. at Jo Krazy Kaffe restaurant (Bruce, WI)
Officers: Ron Jasperson, Dave Olsen, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler
Members: Frank Lowry, Jan Paulsen, Jonathan Stanley, John Ziemer
Non-members: Charlotte Bartels, Dan Bartels
Motion by Dave Olsen, second by Ron Jasperson, to dispense with reading of the prior minutes and to accept the May 2012 minutes. Unanimously carried.
The fiscal year runs September 1 to August 31 inclusive. An interim budget report was presented by Tom Paulsen. Expenses ($28,369.11) exceeded revenue ($26441.46) by $1927.65. Overall expenses were well above budget due to major purchases (new trail mower $5000, 7-foot Tidd Tech grooming implement $4000) and October 2012 burglary of storage shed ($4000). Revenue was above budget thanks to successful fundraising, our many donors, steady support from our members, and good insurance compensation for the burglary. Our bottom line shows a positive balance at this time (available cash) of $20,492.07. Discussion was held. Motion was made by John Ziemer to approve the Treasurer's report as presented, and seconded by Jonathan Stanley. Unanimously carried.
- Election of officers
- Old Business
- Membership Fees
- New Business
- Designate committee members for the upcoming year
Election of Officers
Tom Paulsen nominated Dave Olsen for president, seconded by Ron Jasperson, elected unanimously. Dave Olsen nominated Ron Jasperson for vice president, seconded by Frank Lowry, elected unanimously. Dick Pebler nominated Tom Paulsen for secretary/treasurer, seconded by Dave Olsen, elected unanimously.
Fall banquet: held at Lehman's Supper Club in Rice Lake. Tom Paulsen reported that attendance was good, the food was great, and a wildlife presentation by DNR Naturalist Chris Cold was very enjoyable. The banquet was financially successful (raising $2100 from sales of silent auction items). The method used for prize distribution worked well (primarily silent auctions).
Blue Hills Ascent: no attempt at hosting a race this past year.
Website: those in attendance agreed the website remains very functional. Greater use of Facebook and Twitter has brought more attention to the Blue Hills Trail. We continue to provide business links (free of charge) to local donors in the business of ski/bike sales, and lodging. Suggestions for further improvement are always welcome.
Fundraising: despite the poor economy, we received good support from individuals ($4300) and businesses ($6300). The donation pole in the parking lot was on target at $2385. Memberships (90) increased significantly totaling $4200. The use of Amazon Associates is generating significant revenue ($275 in the first year), and has the potential to grow significantly.
Equipment: purchases included a more powerful trail mower ($4500) plus a wetlands kit ($500); and the purchase of a new bigger 7-foot Tidd Tech grooming implement. We now have three Tidd Tech implements: 4-foot, 6-foot, & 7-foot. At Frank Lowry's suggestion, a detailed listing of our equipment will be included in the annual financial summary.
Grooming and trail maintenance:
- Frank Lowry was assisted by Jan Paulsen and Tom Paulsen in repairing the footing of a bridge located 300 meters south of #23.
- Tom Paulsen repaired the steps for the women's pit toilet.
- DNR dozing summer 2012 greatly improved numerous sections of Eastside trails while also adding a large culvert between 29A-30A; John Carr, Tom Paulsen, Jerry Schneider then placed silt fence around the culvert and seeded that area; after dozing was completed, Dan Bale and Tom Paulsen seeded the more distant trails. Future Eastside logging necessitated 'road building kind of dozing' by the logger from 21-11-12-12A-17A-20A-20-19-18-9, an amazing improvement of those trail sections.
- Mowing of the Westside was performed by County employees in July; they also were able to mow a limited portion of the Eastside. Mowing of the near half of the EastSide was performed by Dan Bartels (contracted employee of BHTA using our mower); the distant half of the Eastside was mowed by volunteer Steve P with the donated use of the WRA skidsteer mower.
- The work day in late September was very well attended, focusing on the Eastside trails in August.
- Steve P and Jerry Schneider cleared the Westside trails.
- Grooming was fantastic! Dan Bartels handled the bulk of the grooming chores, assistant groomers included Steve Brockman, Steve Gest and Jesse Wimer.
- Despite sparse snowfall from early December until mid February, skiing conditions were very good. Steady frequent snowfalls began in mid-February, and never let up. With heavy snowfalls in March, we limited grooming to about 18 km of the Eastside, and allowed dogs to use those trails. The last day of grooming was March 24th, although we could have kept grooming well into April. There was a 15+ inch snowfall on May 2nd!
Snowshoe trail: further improved by John Kann, well received by visitors.
Signage: Rusk County printed and laminated the necessary replacement maps for the entire trail system. Tom Paulsen replaced the EastSide maps/signage; and was assisted by Steve Brockman in placing new maps on the Westside. Metal map holders were fabricated by Kurth Sheet Metal (donated labor) and are now in use on the Westside.
Warming house: to save money, caulking was deferred this past year. In November 2009, Kevin Westlund placed fiberglass insulation in the interior to seal visible gaps. Exterior staining was deferred when our anticipated volunteer dropped the ball autumn of 2012.
Burglary: October 2012 vandalism of our storage shed totaled $4100 in expenses, well covered by insurance - but quite a hassle identifying and replacing the lost items and repairing the snowmobiles. Using DNA evidence, the perpetrator was caught and is proceeding through the legal system. Since the burglary, we upgraded our insurance policy to absolutely cover the building, & contents. And we’ve begun using security cameras.
After discussion, those in attendance agreed the membership fees ($35 for individuals, $55 for families) and trail head fees ($5 daily donation) should remain unchanged (motion by Tom Paulsen, second by Jan Paulsen, passed unanimously). By not raising fees, this will allow many diverse individuals to access the trail system despite the sluggish economy. It's our hope that businesses and individuals doing well financially will continue to provide generous donations.
Fall Banquet: the approach for the 2013 fall fundraiser was discussed. We again will focus on a limited number of major prizes and silent auction items, and one or two major raffles. Tom Paulsen will search for a volunteer to head the banquet committee. Lehman's Supper Club (Rice Lake) would again be a suitable location for the fund raising banquet.
Blue Hills Ascent: due to recent low turnouts, Frank Lowry recommended we not hold a race in January 2014. Those in attendance agreed unanimously. We will explore options of a 'fun day' on the trail to replace the race option, perhaps including a 'Free Ski Day' combined with a 'Ski Clinic'.
Website: Tom Paulsen's goal is to keep it functional, straight forward, and to update frequently during ski season.
Equipment: We anticipate replacement of our 2008 Skandic snowmobile (6000 km on the odometer) November 2014, and replacement of our 2012 Skandic snowmobile (4000 km on the odometer) November 2015. The grooming implements are in good shape.
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.
- Jonathan Stanley will refer to Carolyn Chatterton's 'Trail Timeline' when addressing overall trail maintenance needs.
- Plans are underway to doze a new trail between 2A and the midpoint on the S-curve (half way between 2-20). This new trail would allow us to abandon the lower portion of the S-curve which is very technically challenging to skiers, and has two bridges that are prone to erosion. On June 18, Tom Paulsen and Jonathan Stanley will meet with Paul Teska and Gary Sarauer to flag the route.
- Rusk County has agreed to mow the WestSide, and portions of the EastSide that can withstand the weight of their tractor. For the damp (soft) areas on the EastSide, this will be contracted in a manner similar to past mowing contracts. We will skip mowing of the Eastside ridgeline where a timber sale will be logged this summer. Because of that timber sale, there will be no need to use the Wildlife Restoration Association skidsteer mower this year.
- Grooming and mowing implements will again be stored by one or more of our club members (name withheld from website) as a donation to the club.
Grooming team: Dan Bartels, Steve Gest, and Jesse Wimer will share the bulk of the grooming, with possible assistance from Steve Brockman, Jay Howard, Frank Lowry, Tom Paulsen, and Jonathan Stanley. Our goal remains quality grooming of the entire trail system with major emphasis on the core loop. The usual fall meeting between officers and groomers is anticipated.
Warming house: hopefully this summer, exterior staining can be accomplished. Dick Pebler will look for volunteer labor for washing the exterior and staining. Exterior caulking also needs to be considered. Tom Paulsen has contacted Northwest Wisconsin Refrigeration (Bruce) to handle replacement of the aging 14-year-old furnace.
Work Day: to be selected this fall.
Ski Clinic: we will consider a ski clinic as part of a 'fun day'. We certainly continue to welcome the ski clinics conducted by Steve and Jyneen Thatcher.
Signage: annual replacement of the intersection maps needs to be done late fall or early winter. Each fall, Tom Paulsen contacts the Rusk County Extension Office to arrange printing of current maps. Using those new maps, Frank Lowry volunteered to replace the Eastside maps, Dave Olsen volunteered to replace the Westside maps.
Snowshoe trail: to our knowledge, John Kann plans to maintain and/or revise the snowshoe trail.
Warming house propane heat: we switched to Sheldon Coop as the provider June 2010, they are delivering a good service. We plan on filling the tank this summer (June) when rates are the lowest.
Website: Tom Paulsen reported that no significant changes are anticipated.
Insurance: Tom Paulsen will explore Rusk County's current insurance coverage for the warming house. We would prefer coverage with an affordable deductible, and coverage that would provide timely replacement if needed.
To be carried over with additions as highlighted in bold
- Banquet Committee: open (chair)
- Fun Day Committee: Frank Lowry (chair), Tom Paulsen
- Equipment Committee: Dan Bartels
- Fundraising: Jan Paulsen, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler
- Grooming and Trail Maintenance Committee: Jonathan Stanley (chair), Frank Lowry, Tyler Gruetzmacher
- Ski Clinic Committee: open (chair)
- Snowshoe Trail: John Kann
- Website: Tom Paulsen
Motion to adjourn by Frank Lowry, second by Dick Pebler. Adjourned at 8:35 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