Andy Boughton, general manager for the Blue River Powder Packer Society, catches some air on his sled. The group recently received provincial funding to help with the upcoming season, which Boughton said is important for a non-profit society to maintain a professional and sustainable tourism operation. Photo submitted

Snowmobile club gets funding for approaching season

Money will go toward summer trail maintenance and website upgrades

The Blue River Powder Packers Society (BRPPS) received a funding boost from the provincial government that’ll go toward summer trail maintenance and website upgrades for the upcoming snowmobiling season.

The funding comes from the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Trail Fund, which provided the organization with $12,787 for maintenance on Foam Creek trail, including brushing activities and improvements to the yearly bridge installation and removal strategy, as well as $2,308 to upgrade its website and educational materials provided for riders.

“Without extra funding like this, it’s difficult for us to operate. Hiring contractors to do this summer maintenance is expensive and without support from the government and local businesses, it’s just difficult for a small non-profit society to fund those initiatives,” said Andy Boughton, general manager for the BRPPS.

“This funding means we can get these things done and maintain a professional and sustainable tourism operation in the area, which benefits the community as well as the businesses in the area while also supporting public recreation.”

The province provided almost $200,000 to B.C. outdoor clubs to support the off-road recreation industry, enhance tourism opportunities and promote healthy living.

Snowmobiling should get equal footing

Twenty-two clubs in total are receiving funding to improve trail riding and to promote rider safety, including the B.C. Snowmobile Federation, the B.C. Off-Road Motorcycle Association and the Quad Riders Association of British Columbia.

Boughton said summer maintenance is part of the game when dealing with snowmobiling, and by hiring a contractor to do brushing activities like removing willows and keeping them low, the snowmobile trails can be opened earlier when the snow starts to fly.

“It’ll allow us to open up that zone earlier in the season for riders and also protect our grooming equipment for our grooming contractors,” he added.

The next round of applications to the ORV Trail Fund will start early next year, with at least $200,000 available to fund applicants.

Boughton noted the group also plans to work with its website developer to make the BRPPS website more user-friendly and improve the group’s ability to communicate with its ridership, and there are also plans to start a daily blog where information can be released on topics like zone closures in the area.

The ORV Trail Fund started in 2017 and is funded from a portion of registration fees collected under the Off-Road Vehicle Act by ICBC.

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