Frost is entering the ground, conditions are good for hiking and fat tire biking. Many trails are bare, shaded areas have snow cover measuring 1/2"-1" or more.
November 29: flurries
We usually start grooming the ski trail some time in early December as the deer gun hunts wind down. It's all very weather dependent, we need snow.
Meeting called to order
by Dave Olsen, president, at 6:05 p.m. at Burdy's Bar and Grill (Weyerhaeuser, WI)
Officers: Ron Jasperson, Dave Olsen, Tom Paulsen
Members: Nels Curnow, Lisa Dobrowolski, Steve Gest, Bjorn Hanson, Frank Lowry, Jan Paulsen, Steve Porn, Jonathan Stanley, John Waldron
Non-members: Dan Bartels
Motion by Frank Lowry, second by Jonathan Stanley, to dispense with reading of the prior minutes and to accept the June 2013 minutes. Unanimously carried.
The fiscal year runs September 1 to August 31 inclusive. An interim budget report was presented by Tom Paulsen. Revenue ($21110.17) exceeded expenses ($17486.81) by $3623.36. Overall expenses were slightly above budget due to two items ($1200 repair of the 2008 Skandic snowmobile charging system, and $1100 replacement of the warming house furnace). Revenue was above budget thanks to successful banquet fundraising, our many donors, and a strong number of memberships; however, we are noticing a decrease in donations from individuals. Our bottom line shows a positive balance at this time (available cash) of $24115.43. Discussion was held. Motion was made by Jonathan Stanley to approve the Treasurer's report as presented, and seconded by Steve Gest. Unanimously carried.
Election of Officers
The current officers agreed to serve another one-year term. Bjorn Hanson nominated Dave Olsen for president, Ron Jasperson for vice president, and Tom Paulsen for secretary/treasurer. This was seconded by Frank Lowry, and passed 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 $2900 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. Instead, a Ski for Free Day (potluck included) was held January 2014.
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: we received good support from businesses ($5400), individual donations ($3400) dropped about $900. The donation pole in the parking lot was a little below target at $2191. Memberships (92) are at one of their highest levels, totaling $4400. The use of Amazon Associates (our members shopping at Amazon.com via our website) generated significant revenue ($470), and has the potential to grow significantly.
Equipment: costs ($3700) were over budget ($3000). There were many maintenance issues, including $1200 to repair the charging system of the 2008 Skandic snowmobile, the replacement of many batteries and the solar panel on the storage shed.
Grooming and trail maintenance:
Snowshoe trail: further enlarged & improved by John Kann & Jerry Schneider, well received by visitors.
Signage: Rusk County printed and laminated the necessary replacement maps for the entire trail system. Tom Paulsen & Frank Lowry replaced the EastSide maps/signage; Tom Paulsen & Dan Bale placed fresh maps on the Westside.
Warming house: new furnace installed August 2013 ($1100); caulking was again deferred; under the guidance of Sam Behrends, the Bruce High School Ag Dept power washed & stained warming house May 2014.
Current annual dues are $35 for individuals, $55 for families. Dues were last increased in 2008, expenses beyond our control have been rising, individual donations have decreased. A recent email poll of our membership showed 93% in favor of raising the dues by $10. After a fairly lengthy discussion, Frank Lowry moved to raise the dues by $5, this was seconded by Steve Gest, and passed. Then Tom Paulsen moved to raise the dues by $10, this was seconded by Nels Curnow, and passed (7 yes, 4 no). For purposes of clarification, Bjorn Hanson moved to raise our dues to $45 for individuals, $65 for families, this was seconded by Steve Gest, and passed with one person opposed. Trailhead fees were briefly discussed, with the decision to leave them unchanged (suggesting a $5 daily donation). By not raising daily 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 2014 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. Nels Curnow volunteered Patty McGown to head the banquet committee. Those in attendance agreed Lehman's Supper Club (Rice Lake) would again be a suitable location for the fund raising banquet.
Blue Hills Ascent: there was a long discussion of hosting races and similar events. Due to a history of low turnouts, those in attendance did not feel that resuming the race was an option. The occasional 'Ski Clinics' hosted by the Thatchers have been well appreciated, we will continue to support this. Additionally, trying to coordinate 1-2 "Full Moon" ski events would be a good way to attract members/visitors.
Website: Tom Paulsen's goal is to keep it functional, straight forward, and to update frequently during ski season. Tom is interested in training one of our members to take over the website - he will email the membership seeking a volunteer.
Equipment: Our 2008 Skandic snowmobile is ready for replacement (7246 km on the odometer), Tom Paulsen will advertise its availability on Skinnyski, ABR, and groomers' chat line. After researching options this past winter, it's apparent many trail systems like using tracked ATVs/UTVs for grooming whenever possible. For our trail system, we think the ideal mix is one tracked vehicle, and one workhorse snowmobile. Our 2012 Skandic snowmobile (5481 km on the odometer) will be ready for replacement after 1-2 more seasons - we plan on replacing it with an Arctic Cat Groomer's Special snowmobile. In the meantime, thanks to a successful pledge drive in April (we raised $10,000 from our members), we are able to afford a John Deere Gator with enclosed heated cab & Camoplast tracks – to be used for summertime mowing & wintertime grooming. It’s on order, and should be ready soon. It will be stored in a recently purchased shipping container near the already existing storage shed. We've purchased a locking system that should provide good security. The grooming implements are in good shape, Dan Bartels remains available to help with equipment repairs. Purchase of a compaction drag / leveler is recommended, this would cost $2000 – we can wait until midwinter to see how we’re doing financially.
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 Paulsen requested help stuffing envelopes for the August mailing - Dave Olsen and Ron Jasperson volunteered.
Grooming team: Steve Gest expects to be our chief groomer again this next winter. Dan Bartels to remain instrumental with maintaining equipment. Same group of available groomers, having added Bob Roach and Adam Brockman toward the end of this last season. 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: Exterior caulking was discussed - Tom Paulsen will contact Lee Westlund (the warming house contractor) for his opinion regarding caulking.
Work Day: to be selected later this summer.
Ski Clinic: those in attendance appreciate the occasional ski clinics conducted by Steve and Jyneen Thatcher. Hopefully they can continue offering these teaching sessions.
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. Tom Paulsen will seek volunteers for map replacement this fall.
Snowshoe trail: to our knowledge, John Kann will continue to maintain and/or revise the snowshoe trail. All agreed that snowshoers using the groomed ski trails need to be reminded to stay to the side.
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.
Insurance: no changes anticipated, no discussion of this item.
Position of secretary / treasurer: Tom Paulsen has held this position for close to ten years and would appreciate the right person taking over.
To be carried over with additions as highlighted in bold
Motion to adjourn by Steve Gest, second by Jonathan Stanley. Adjourned at 7:35 p.m.
Taken by Tom Paulsen, Secretary
A Listing of Active Committees