Blue Hills Trail CONDITIONS
Sunday - morning update
Packed powder conditions, very good skating, excellent striding.
A very destructive December ice storm (visit our blog for photos etc) initially shut down our skiing. Despite the December ice storm, about half of our East Side trails are open; Excelsior Road is open on the West Side. Click here for helpful maps that show our open trails.
Snowshoers: we prefer you use the Ridges Snowshoe Trail as your first option. If snowshoeing on the groomed ski trail, please snowshoe well to the side. On January 26, a great new loop was added to the Ridges Trail - the 'Highland Loop' - it climbs to the Ridgeline near intersection #12. The 'Highland Loop' doesn't yet show on our maps, but it's well marked in the field.
Autumn 2022, loggers cut a large timber sale on the East Side in the vicinity of the Otter Slide and Far East trails (those trails are the furthest 'east' trails). In late January, when the ground is well frozen, loggers will haul those logs to market using a route to the east and mostly separate from the ski trails. Click here for a map showing the involved trails.
January 27: 2" fine grained dry snow
grooming & MOWING
Grooming Report / Plans --- note: due to December 15 extensive ice storm damage, grooming is currently limited to about half of the East Side trails and Excelsior Road on the West Side. These are some of our favorite trails. Click here to see where we're grooming.
January 28 evening: touched up the skate deck
January 27 evening: groomed all the open trails - including fresh classic track
Blue Hills Trail Association Inc.
May 8, 2010 10:05 AM
Meeting called to order
by Tom Paulsen, secretary, at 9:05 a.m. at the warming house at the Blue Hills Trail
Officers: Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler
Members: Dan Bale, Jan Paulsen
Motion by Jan Paulsen, second by Dan Bale, to dispense with reading of the prior minutes and to accept the May 2009 minutes. Unanimously carried.
The fiscal year runs September 1 to August 31 inclusive. An interim budget report was presented by Tom Paulsen. Revenue exceeded expenses by $6496.28. We incurred some significant expenses this fiscal year (big items included purchase of a new roller from ABR, mouse damage requiring furnace repair, and various equipment repairs). Fortunately, fundraising again produced generous donations, and we were able to sell an old roller at a good price. Our bottom line shows a positive balance at this time (available cash) of $14,703.14. Discussion was held. Motion was made by Dan Bale to approve the Treasurer's report as presented, and seconded by Jan Paulsen. Unanimously carried.
- Election of officers
- Old Business
- Membership Fees
- New Business
- Designate committee members for the upcoming year
Election of Officers
Dick Pebler was nominated by Jan Paulsen for president, seconded by Dan Bale, elected unanimously. Dave Olsen was nominated by Jan Paulsen for vice president, seconded by Dan Bale, elected unanimously. Tom Paulsen was nominated by Jan Paulsen for secretary/treasurer, seconded by Dan Bale, elected unanimously.
The $800 CD held at Ascencia bank (online) reached maturity and was cashed in February 2010. In early 2009, BHTA received this $800 donation to honor Jean Replinger. With Mrs. Replinger's permission, the $800 will be merged with our general funds and be reserved for future bridge work at #31.
Fall banquet: held at Burdy's banquet hall in Weyerhaeuser, this provided plenty of room in an enjoyable atmosphere. Tom & Jan Paulsen reported that attendance was low, but the attendees were enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy the evening. The banquet was more financially successful than many past years (showing a profit of $1300). The method used for prize distribution worked well (primarily silent auctions).
Blue Hills Ascent: the race was organized by Frank Lowry, and held during very good snow conditions. 8k and 16k distances were offered. The race drew only 24 participants (5 HS men, 7 HS women, 10 adult men, 2 adult women). Unofficial timing was available and worked well. Overall, we generated about $210 through same day donations. There were no costs incurred. Despite the small turnout, it was a successful race, and a fun time was had by all.
Website: those in attendance agreed the website remains very functional. We continue to provide links to a few of our major business supporters.
Fundraising: overall good results despite the ongoing major economic recession. Business donations and individual donations were stable, and the number of memberships was stable.
Equipment: we recovered $800 when we sold an old roller. We purchased a new roller from ABR (Active Backwoods Retreat in Ironwood, MI) for $1500 plus transportation costs. We also added a 12-volt system for lighting the storage shed interior. Snowmobile covers were purchased to protect the machines from road salt during winter transportation. As usual, equipment repairs were a moderate expense. Fortunately, Dan Bartels continues to handle a significant portion of the equipment repair work.
Grooming and trail maintenance:
- Jonathan Stanley inspected the trails, and supervised dozing of a section between 5-6 on the EastSide. Gary Sarauer was able to provide one day of dozing (courtesy of DNR and Rusk County). Jan, Kirk and Tom Paulsen seeded that area.
- Mowing of the entire trail system was performed by County employees in early July. This included the use of our trail mower on the softer sections of the EastSide. Mowing of the EastSide was repeated in September by Dan Bartels (contracted employee of BHTA).
- The work day in early October was very well attended. Unfortunately, an early season 4" wet snowfall on October 23 littered the trails with a huge number of new downed limbs and trees. To deal with this, Jonathan Stanley (aided by many volunteers) coordinated more work days after the November gun hunt.
- A plaque was placed at the bridge near #31 to recognize the Jean Replinger donation.
- Dan Bartels and Steve Brockman shared the bulk of the grooming chores and created uniformly high quality skiing conditions throughout the entire trail system (visitors frequently complimented the skiing conditions). Assistant groomers included Randy Brueske, Steve Gest, Jay Howard, Derek Nette, Tom Paulsen, and Jonathan Stanley.
Snowshoe trail: no action on this the past year.
Signage: Rusk County printed and laminated the necessary replacement maps. Jan and Tom Paulsen replaced the WestSide maps/signage, Dan Bale and Jerry Wilkes replaced the EastSide maps/signage.
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. A mouse nest in the furnace fouled the burner, and was repaired at a cost of $190. Since that time, Ropax has been useful in eradicating the mice.
Those in attendance agreed the membership fees ($35 for individuals, $55 for families) and trailhead fees ($5 daily donation) should remain unchanged. Hopefully this will allow many diverse individuals to access the trail system despite the sluggish economy. It's our hope that individuals doing well financially will continue to provide generous donations.
Fall Banquet: the approach for the 2010 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. Volunteers for the banquet committee will be sought by sending out an email message to our members. Perhaps Burdy's (Weyerhaeuser) would again be a suitable location for the fundraising banquet.
Blue Hills Ascent: Frank Lowry has volunteered to be race chair again for January 2011.
Website: Tom Paulsen's goal is to keep it functional, straight forward, and to update frequently during ski season.
- No new grooming equipment is needed at this time. We anticipate replacement of our 2007 Skandic snowmobile November 2011.
- We discussed purchase of a new or used ATV to help with mowing and general trail maintenance. ATV grant requests (submitted to Xcel Energy summer 2009, Polaris Foundation summer 2009, and Plum Creek Foundation winter 2009-10) have all been denied. Dick Pebler will keep watching for a used ATV by checking at the Yamaha dealer (contact person = 'Rusty') in Rice Lake. Continuing to use ATVs provided by volunteers certainly remains an option. We also will contact our membership by email seeking the donation of a workhorse ATV.
- There are five batteries in the storage shed, periodically connected to a solar powered trickle charge system.
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.
- Tom Paulsen will arrange the mowing. We will ask Rusk County to mow the entire trail system at least once. For the damp (soft) areas on the EastSide we will offer the use of our trail mower pulled by the County's ATV. If Rusk County cannot handle all our mowing needs, this will be contracted in a manner similar to past mowing contracts.
- Grooming and mowing implements will again be stored by one of our club members (name withheld from website).
- A timber sale will impact a major portion of the Eastside of the trail system in the near future. Paul Teska has openly worked with us to minimize the impact of this and all future logging on our wintertime skiing conditions. Preferably the logging will occur in the summer months if dry conditions are present.
Grooming team: Dan Bartels and Steve Brockman will share the position of head groomer. Likely assistant groomers include Steve Gest, 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.
Warming house: exterior caulking needs to be accomplished some time in the next few years. Officers will work out the details by speaking with Kevin Westlund and Bjorn Hanson (with Bjorn discussing purchase versus donation of materials and labor).
Work Day: to be selected this fall.
Ski Clinic: not discussed
Signage: three individuals (Dan Bale, Dick Pebler, and Jerry Wilkes) volunteered to handle the fall replacement of maps and trail signs.
Snowshoe trail: we will send out an email message looking for volunteers to establish a designated snowshoe trail.
Warming house propane heat: to obtain a better propane price, Tom Paulsen contacted Sheldon Coop to become the supplier for the propane. Sheldon Coop will install a new tank in June.
Website: Tom Paulsen reported that no significant changes are anticipated.
To be carried over with additions as highlighted in bold
- Banquet Committee:seeking four volunteers
- Blue Hills Ascent 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: Mark Bittner
- Snowshoe Trail: seeking volunteers
- Website: Tom Paulsen
Motion to adjourn by Dick Pebler, second by Dan Bale. Adjourned at 10:35 a.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