Hiking: despite three big downpours (July 24th, 27th, & 28th), the trails are mostly dry, hiking conditions are good. We started summer trail mowing in late June, and most of the trails were mowed at least once by July 25th. Grasses are short where mowed, often waist high (or higher) if not mowed.
Biking: the West Side trails offer the best biking, that area tends to be the driest. The East Side trails are surprisingly dry this summer, and more 'bike-able' than usual. On the East Side, after rainy weather avoid the trails far to the east, they usually are damp and soft.
Bugs: insect activity is lower than normal.
April 24, 2021: snow showers
Summertime mowing began in late June on the East Side trails. East Side mowing was completed on July 25th. Most of the West Side was mowed in the last half of July. Click here for a map showing East Side mowing details.
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
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:
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.
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
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