Blue Hills Trail CONDITIONS
Tuesday - morning update
Click here for helpful maps that show our open trails.
Spring is here, there's lots of snow remaining.
Yesterday morning (Monday), the classic track was fairly well defined, with a mild-moderate amount of litter deposited by brisk winds over the weekend. Good classic skiing if you can tolerate the trail litter. As a spur-of-the-moment decision, the skate lane on the modified East Side Core Loop was touched up early Monday morning and provided good skate skiing. The side trails on the East Side (and Excelsior Road on the West Side) also had good skate skiing Monday. Beautiful first day of Spring with temps reaching the upper 30s.
A very destructive mid December ice storm (visit our blog for photos etc) shut down our trails for a short time. Fortunately we've been able to open 60% of our East Side trails, and Excelsior Road is open on the West Side.
Snowshoers: the Ridges Snowshoe Trail is cleared of tree damage, we prefer you use that as your first option. If snowshoeing on the groomed ski trail, please snowshoe well to the side. Click here for a blog post regarding the new 'Highland Loop'.
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). This winter loggers are hauling 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.
March 17: 1" from blustery snow showers in the evening
March 16: 1/4" rain, then 1" windblown snow
grooming & MOWING
Grooming Report / Plans: Click here to see maps of the open trails
March 20 (Monday morning): touched up the skate lane on the modified East Side Core Loop.
March 17 (Friday evening): groomed the skate deck on all the open trails, and set classic track on the frequently traveled trails.
Blue Hills Trail Association Inc.
May 9, 2009 5:25 PM
Meeting called to order
by Jerry Wilkes, president, at 4:25 p.m. at the warming house at the Blue Hills Trail
Officers: Jerry Wilkes, Tom Paulsen, Dick Pebler
Members: Dan Bale, Mark Bittner, Tony Monpas, Jan Paulsen, Jonathan Stanley
Non-members: Dan Bartels, Charlotte Bartels
Motion by Dan Bale, second by Mark Bittner, to dispense with reading of the prior minutes and to accept the April 2008 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 $5000.30. We again incurred some unexpected significant expenses this fiscal year (big items included purchase of a small G2 Tidd Tech grooming implement and tracksetter, two pairs of flexi skis for the snowmobiles, a solar panel for battery charging at the storage shed, a gas caddy, and various equipment repairs). Fortunately, fundraising again produced generous donations, and we were able to sell two used grooming implements (old Tidd Tech and old Ginzugroomer) at good prices. Our bottom line shows a positive balance at this time (available cash) of $8251.74. Discussion was held. Motion was made to approve the Treasurer's report as presented, and seconded. Unanimously carried.
- Election of officers
- Old Business
- Membership Fees
- New Business
- Designate committee members for the upcoming year
Election of Officers
Mark Bittner nominated the current officers for another one year term (Jerry Wilkes for president, Dick Pebler for vice president, Tom Paulsen for secretary/treasurer). This was seconded by Jonathan Stanley, and with no other nominations for officers, these individuals were elected unanimously.
New bank account at Ascencia (online): BHTA received an $800 donation to honor Jean Replinger. This donation will be held in a CD at Ascencia until needed for bridge replacement at #31 (Jean Replinger directed the donation to be used for this purpose).
Fall banquet: Tom & Jan Paulsen reported that attendance was reduced compared with past years, but by minimizing costs and holding the event as a pot luck, the banquet was more financially successful (profits increased by $800). The method used for prize distribution worked well (primarily silent auctions), and nice weather made for an enjoyable evening at the warming house.
Blue Hills Ascent: the race was organized by Frank Lowry, and held during very good snow conditions. The unofficial nature of the race drew only 37 participants (6 HS men, 8 HS women, 16 adult men, 7 adult women). Unofficial timing was available and worked well. Overall, we generated about $180 through trail head 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. It was renamed www.bluehillstrail.com this past year. We continue to provide links to a few of our major business supporters.
Fundraising: overall good results despite the major economic recession. Business donations dropped by $750, individual donations dropped by $300, and memberships decreased by 11.
Equipment: we recovered a fair amount of money when we sold three items - our old Tidd Tech implement; our old manual tracksetter; and our old Ginzugroomer. We purchased several major items - a new Tidd Tech implement (small G2) including tracksetter (total of $4500); flexi skis for each of our two snowmobiles (total of $1000); and a solar panel for battery charging at the storage shed ($200). Equipment repairs were a moderate expense. Fortunately, Dan Bartels was able to handle a significant portion of the equipment repair work.
Grooming and trail maintenance:
- Mowing of the WestSide was performed by County employees in early July. Mowing of the EastSide was performed by Steve Brockman (contracted employee of BHTA) in July, and repeated in October.
- Gary Sarauer was able to provide one day of dozing (courtesy of DNR and Rusk County) to a) rework the intersection at 23A; and b) rework the inside of the hairpin curve on the first descent between 2A and 23A (great results).
- A beaver dam created a flooded area on the WestSide between points J-K. This froze over and allowed grooming equipment to safely groom that trail section. Recognizing this flooded area might create the need for a bypass trail (to run between points H-K) in the future, the necessary connection was inspected jointly in September by Tom Paulsen, Paul Teska, and Gary Sarauer. Most of the trail that would run between H-K already exists with the exception of an undeveloped creek crossing. Tom inspected that creek crossing with Jon Kleist (DNR water quality specialist) in early December 2 - with the conclusion that a small bridge would meet the DNR requirements for that crossing.
- Dan Bartels was head groomer and created uniformly high quality skiing conditions throughout the entire trail system (visitors raved about the conditions). Dan received help from assistant groomers including Steve Brockman, Tom Paulsen, Stuart Preston, and Jonathan Stanley.
Snowshoe trail: no action on this the past year.
Signage: Rusk County printed and laminated the necessary replacement maps. Dick Pebler replaced the WestSide maps/signage, Tom Paulsen and Jonathan Stanley replaced the EastSide maps/signage.
Warming house: to save money, caulking was deferred this past year. In November 2007, Kevin Westlund placed fiberglass insulation in the interior to seal visible gaps.
Those in attendance agreed the membership fees ($35 for individuals, $55 for families) and trail head fees ($5 daily donation) should remain unchanged. Hopefully this will allow many diverse individuals to access the trail system despite the current economic recession. It's our hope that individuals doing well financially will continue to provide generous donations.
Fall Banquet: the approach for the 2009 fall fundraiser was discussed. We again will focus on a limited number of major prizes and silent auction items, and one major raffle. The banquet committee (see names below) will select a site from this list: Christie Mountain, Burdy's in Weyerhaeuser, Lehman's in Rice Lake, the Blue Hills Inn, or the Tee Away in Ladysmith. Perhaps attendees could simply order off the menu.
Blue Hills Ascent: Frank Lowry has volunteered to be race chair again for 2010. Frank has arranged for timing (free), he is considering offering two distances (8k and 16k), charging $10 and $15 for those distances, providing lots of prizes (donated), and purchasing race insurance. Those in attendance discussed the following points - the race should not lose money; perhaps it should remain a free race to help avoid the cost of insurance; and perhaps a different date should be selected.
Website: Tom Paulsen's goal is to keep it functional, simple, and to update frequently during ski season.
- Dan Bartels will continue to provide maintenance services for our various pieces of equipment, and he recommended replacing one of our rollers this fall. He prefers an open roller design available through ABR for $1850. Officers will consider this purchase when reviewing our balance sheet after completing fall fundraising. Dan Bartels also suggested we consider future purchase of a compaction drag (cost $1100) for use in leveling the snow surface.
- We discussed purchase of a new or used ATV to help with mowing and general trail maintenance. Dick Pebler (checking at the Yamaha dealer in Rice Lake) and Dan Bartels will look at prices for a used ATV. Tom Paulsen recently submitted a grant to the Polaris Foundation requesting $5000 for purchase of a new ATV. Officers will work out the details if an ATV purchase seems reasonable. Continuing to use ATVs provided by volunteers certainly remains an option. Tom Paulsen will ask Paul Teska to approve mowing by Rusk County using their ATV and our trail mower.
- Dan Bartels will connect the snowmobile batteries to a 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 contract. Summertime mowing will be accomplished the same as in 2008 with BHTA mowing the damp areas on the East Side using our trail mower pulled by an ATV, and asking Rusk County to mow the rest of the trail system.
- 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.
- Tom Paulsen will obtain a plaque for use at the bridge near #31 to recognize the Jean Replinger donation.
Grooming team: Dan Bartels will continue as head groomer. Assistant groomers remaining under contract include Steve Brockman, Frank Lowry, Tom Paulsen, Stuart Preston, 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). Since the building is officially the property of Rusk County, we will check with Paul Teska (County forester) to see if the County would perform the caulking.
Work Day: to be selected this fall.
Ski Clinic: not discussed
Signage: three individuals (Dan Bale, Jonathan Stanley, and Jerry Wilkes) volunteered to handle the fall replacement of maps and trail signs.
Snowshoe trail: signs have already been prepared, we just need to find a group of individuals willing to actually sign and clear a trail. No major interest expressed by those in attendance. We will check with Gwen Westlund to determine her degree of interest in spearheading work on this project - perhaps as part of the fall work day.
Warming house propane heat: Tom Paulsen will compare prices between Ferrellgas (the current supplier) and Sheldon Coop. He also will make sure we are part of a program that guarantees the lowest propane price.
Website: Tom Paulsen reported that no significant changes are anticipated.
To be carried over with additions as highlighted in bold
- Banquet Committee: Dan Bale, Jan Paulsen, Tom Paulsen, Jerry Wilkes
- 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: Gwen Westlund (unconfirmed)
- Website: Tom Paulsen
Motion to adjourn by Dick Pebler, second by Mark Bittner. Adjourned at 6:25 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