The Bridgton Easy Riders on a club trip to Millinocket last year, with Mt. Katahdin in the background. Courtesy / Bill Preis

Even as temperate winter weather brings more sunshine than snow, snowmobile clubs from around the Lakes Region and coastal areas have been clearing trails, repairing bridges and working with landowners to get ready for the first heavy snowfall of 2021. Here’s what’s happening at local clubs:

BRIDGTON

Volunteers from the Bridgton Easy Riders have been out every Sunday since late September, cutting back tree limbs and clearing debris from trails, said club President Blaine Chapman.

“This year we’ve been fortunate,” Chapman said of the 14 or so volunteers who help out every week.

“I think they’re bored, like everyone else,” Chapman joked. The 115-member club is “very tight-knit,” he said.

The club maintains 67 miles of trails, including maintaining bridges and culverts throughout the area. The Easy Riders work with about 130 landowners. Because of COVID-19, the club canceled all of their events and Chapman said the club is not charging their 29 business members to place advertisements in their annual map “as a way to give back to them.”

CASCO

Crooked River Snowmobile Club President Gary Drew said membership had “quite a surge” after last month’s snowstorm, but “it’s kind of petered out” since.

The 40-mile network of trails needs a lot of work before the season starts, Drew said, particularly with removing downed trees and trimming tree limbs.

“It’s hard to get any volunteers,” he said.

CUMBERLAND/NORTH YARMOUTH

Moonlite Sno-Skimmers Trail Master Shaun Breton said volunteers have been working “non-stop” over the last few months to give their 35-mile-plus trail system an upgrade. This year alone they’ve built more than a dozen 35-by-8-foot bridges and moved their clubhouse from the Cumberland Public Works building to Val Halla.

Breton said crews also completed a long-abandoned trail that connects their trail network to several others in the region.

The club has added 15 more members, a threefold increase over previous years, for a total of about 60 members, he said.

Gorham SnoGoers Trail Master Clarke MacDonald with one of the club’s snow groomers. Courtesy / Tom Mazza

GORHAM

The 45-member GorhamSnoGoers began working on trails in the summer and throughout the fall, said President Tom Mazza.

“Our focus is to improve our trails by widening and leveling where we can, improve the safety of our bridges and increase the signage significantly,” he said.

The 54 miles of trails connect to other trail networks and are used year-round, Mazza said.

While membership has slightly dipped, he’s hoping they’ll get a bump after a few big storms.

GRAY/NEW GLOUCESTER

Royal River Riders trail master Harry Segars said three or four members head out to the 26-mile trail network a couple of times a month, but things can get difficult when fallen debris from windstorms blocks their access.

He said with 30 members this year, memberships are slightly up from last year.

While the club isn’t holding any events this year due to COVID-19, they’re holding a daily gift card raffle during the month of March.

A crew of volunteers from the Windham Snow Drifters works on a bridge repair project in preparation for the upcoming season. Courtesy / Barry Bernard

TOPSHAM

The Topsham Trailriders maintain 31.5 miles of snowmobile trails and 16.5 miles of ATV trails.

President Dan Parlin said while their 52 members wait for some “groom-able” snow in the area, the club’s trail rides manager, Mike Little, is planning a club trip up north.

The club holds meetings every month and is “always looking for new members,” Parlin said.

WESTBROOK

Westbrook Trail Blazes Trail Master Anthony Latini said the club has been busy since early October trimming 30 miles of trails and re-decking a number of bridges.

President Dan McCarthy said the preparation process takes about three months “with hundreds of volunteer hours needed.”

Although the club has had to cancel most of their special events this season, McCarthy said they still have about 100 family and business members.

WINDHAM

The Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club maintains 37 miles of multi-use trails for its 103 family and business members, according to Treasurer Barry Bernard.

While their season only lasts about two to three months, trail upkeep is an eight-month operation. With last summer’s dry weather, volunteers were able to mow and brush miles of trails.

The club maintains relationships with 108 landowners, although Bernard said the biggest challenge every year is “people doing stupid things” that puts “all the efforts we’ve made to provide a public recreational asset” in jeopardy.

But still, the club is always looking for “new blood” to join their ranks.

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