Early Winter 2017 | 5 A message from VAST President Tim Mills I absolutely love this time of year for many reasons. Of anywhere in this wonderful country, when you live in New England, there is no doubt of being able to tell when the seasons change. The local news said that to date there has been 11 measurable inches of snow on top of Mount Mansfield. The temperature outside is at a brisk 19 degrees. Our dog didn’t waste any time at 5 a.m. this morning when he was outside doing his business. He was all but banging on the door letting us know he was all set for the day and was ready to come in. I mowed my lawn for the last time. The garden has been rototilled in and is a done deal for the season. Halloween has come and gone and the 2017 hunting season is in the books. Our families have all gathered together from near and far to catch up on old times and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together. The most assuring sign you’ll see as you drive around the state are snowmobile trail signs popping up at road crossings and in fields everywhere. Yes sir, there is no denying it, Old Man Winter is nearly here. Unfortunately, we almost always seem to have a severe wind storm or two come through during the late fall. This may not seem like a big deal, as long as the main roads are clear and the electricity to our homes is back on. But, and this is a big but, you need to ask yourself, “How did my local snowmobile club’s trail system make out during the wind storm with blowdowns?” Has anyone been out and surveyed the damage to make sure the trails are clear? If not, (I know this firsthand) the trail conditions and potential blowdowns are being left to be discovered by the groomer operators as they go out on their first pass of the season. If your club has sustained any of this type of damage, I can attest that it is a lot easier to clear the trees and branches before they become frozen to the ground and covered in a thick blanket of snow. It is also a lot safer for the person operating the chainsaw to cut the trees without those conditions. If you are hanging around the house and have some free time this fall, pick up the phone and call one of the officers in your local club and see how they made out during the wind storm. Find out if they have a work day planned or just need a hand. Find out what equipment you could bring with you, such as a chainsaw, loppers or even heavy equipment, if you have access to some. Remember, a VAST member is a VOLUNTEER. No one person is responsible for the trail conditions. We all are responsible and if we expect to have smooth trails, we should try to be a part of the solution. I know when I was very active in my local club, it felt like the burden was all mine, but at the end of the day it wasn’t. It the responsibility of all of us. Ride safely and smooth trails. – Tim Mills, VAST President Then & Now Clayton Roy Clayton Roy takes a ride with his appropriately named dog, Polaris, in 1968. Clayton attended the Lunenburg Polar Bears’50th Anniversary Celebration in September, 2016. (Mike Mutascio photo) Tim Parks Tim Parks was the first trails coordinator for Rutland county, serving from 1978 to 1980. Tim is now, once again, the Rutland trails coordinator!