Clearwater Sno-Drifters want to buy a groomer to smooth local snowmobile trails – and they want $5,000 from District of Clearwater to help pay for it.
“We could not purchase a groomer of this quality at this price anywhere else,” club president Richard Christenson told town council during its Sept. 4 meeting.
The Sno-Drifters have an opportunity to buy a 1993 Pisten-Bully groomer for $30,000 from the outdoor club in Quesnel, he said.
Total cost of the project, including converting the groomer’s attachments to an 8.5 foot width, relocating it to Clearwater, and expanding the size of an existing storage shed, would be about $41,000.
Of this, the club has some money of its own, and will do some fundraising through silent auctions and so on, plus it is approaching other possible funding sources such as Wells Gray Community Forest and TNRD Area A (Wells Gray Country). Club members are also prepared to make in-kind donations.
Snowmobiling has great potential to increase winter tourism in this area, Christenson said.
“Raft Mountain has lots of excellent terrain but it needs to be groomed,” he said.
The club president noted that they have the right to charge users on Raft but do not do so because there are four routes onto the mountain and so it would be impractical to collect fees.
The new groomer would be used to smooth the trail from the club parking lot near Spahats Creek to the alpine and then down Road 90 and Road 9 to Wadleggers’ mill, depending on winter logging.
The groomer also would be available to assist in grooming local cross-country ski trails or as a backup for the Wells Gray Outdoor Club machine.
The Sno-Drifters’ present groomer is not adequate for the task on Raft. It could, however, be used to groom trails to connect with trails in the Interlakes and 100 Mile House area. Long distance snowmobiling is a huge industry in all of Canada, except B.C., the club president said.
Clearwater Sno-Drifters presently have about 150 members, Christenson reported.
The club maintains eight recreational cabins for day use, as well as emergency shelters, on Granite, Raft, Harp, Vavenby, Groundhog, Baldy mountains, as well as at Grizzly Lake.
The Sno-Drifters have a snowmobile tenure on Raft Mountain as well as registered trail and cabin agreements with various ministries.
The club’s funding request was referred to the Joint Services Advisory Committee, which deals with matters of common concern to both District of Clearwater and Wells Gray Country (Area A).
A recommendation from the committee was to come back to council for a decision.