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Late Winter 2016 7 Letters to anyone that supports a trail across their property. CCSTC does send gifts and cards of thanks to all our landowners. Our club has a gathering in January to thank the officers and directors and their spouses for the time and support. But more needs to be done. Vermont benefits substantially from the sport of snowmobiling yet the state does not contribute to our private organization. Funds we receive are derived from the sale of TMAs Trail Maintenance Assessment- a name I think is WAY overdue for a change and Vermont snowmobile registrations. There is a small Federal gas tax reimbursement through the Recreational Trails Program but that source is threatened every budget cycle and it is nowhere near the amount of gas tax revenue generated by snowmobiles. Property owners that allow trails across their land in Vermont are under financial pressures that need to be addressed through incentives that provide relief. As much as a Thank You and appreciation meals are important it is imperative that the legislation begin the long overdue process of stabilizing the current Snowmobile Trail System by rewarding landowners with tax credits or relief. Additionally volunteers would be rewarded with less rerouting to do when property changes hands. Tying property tax to trails will help in keeping valuable corridors open. What can anyone do As much as it may be distasteful politics is something everyone can be involved with. Talking to local legislators will have an impact. The more participation the better the result. Find out who your representative is and write a letter send an email or give them a phone call. Even out-of- staters can be involved in this process by contacting the local Chambers of Commerce or the State Tourism Agency. Just because you dont have a vote doesnt mean you dont have a say. At the Federal level you can contact The ARRA Americans for Responsible Recreational Access and follow the alert system they have to target issues that concern motorized recreation. Volunteers are the new endangered species in the VAST organization. We are getting older and time is a resource we do not have on our side. I do deeply appreciate the generosity of a free Volunteer TMA but the other costs I incur in working on the Trail System makes me want to join the Pay and Play Club. My friend Mike Farmer and I agree that paying 250 each year to ride and never attend another meeting or spend 8 or more weekends working on trails would be a tremendous cost savings to us VAST is fast approaching the point at which the projects that need to be done will be through paid contractors. Our volunteer ranks are thinning and attracting new replacements is not happening. Simply put it needs to be easier to be a volunteer. It also needs to be rewarding for landowners to provide access. Without these two vital links VAST will continue the downward trend in membership. I will finish by thanking Ray for what he does. I will also thank his family for sharing him with us. I would urge each and every one of you to reach out to the Rays of your community and thank them as well... Before its too late. - Mike OHara Vice President Caledonia County Snowmobile Trail Club Ernie DeMatties of the Poultney Snow Devils is trying to paddle his sled toward snow. He won first place in our Snow Dancecontest. Roger Cawvey of the Glover Trail Winders entered this photo of his two beautiful granddaughters in theSnow Dancecontest. These angels are working hard praying for more snow