West Elk Multi-Use Club 2012-2013 Season

Let it snow

*SNOWFALL UPDATE 12/11/12* — Residents along the Buford Road are reporting 5-6 inches, not enough to pack yet. Kay Robinson will be heading up to her cabin near the trailhead on Wednesday. More news on snow depths then …

While we wait for the snow to accumulate, this is a good time to bring everyone up-to-date on the status of West Elk Multi-Use Club and the West Elk trails.

Since 2009, the bulk of the club’s annual operating expenses have been funded by grants from Garfield County. This year the grant was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in September, but the club has not yet received the funds. When WEMUC Executive Director Tod Tibbetts inquired about release of the funds, he was told that the club needs to show proof of 501c3 status as a federal non-profit corporation. In the past being a non-profit Colorado corporation and paying liability insurance were the club’s only requirements to receive the grant funding. So this is a change to the county’s requirements.

While our goal has always been to achieve 501c3 status, to do so would mean about $1,000 in preparation costs and fees, plus additional administrative hours. Maintaining and fueling 3 snowmobiles and a groomer eats up all of our funds so every year we zero out and don’t have the funds to pursue non-profit status.

Another hurdle to achieving 501c3 status is that our club is required to have in place a committed 6-person volunteer board, and we don’t have that. At our annual meeting in November, there were three board members and two members present.

Tod will continue to try and resolve the funding issue with Garfield County. However prospects do not look good. The defeat of Amendment 1A, which would have provided for trails funding, has put the future of trails in this county in question. Funding for our longtime friend and sponsor, LoVa Trails is also in jeopardy. Therefore with the season upon us we must proceed with our total funding still uncertain.

The club’s liability insurance for this season has been paid. We have about $700 in the bank. The Town of Silt has pledged $100. In equipment we have 3 snowmobiles, 2 trailers, and the Ginzugroomer. However the Yamaha VK, which operates the pull-behind Ginzugroomer needs about $1,000 in electrical work. The club doesn’t have the funds to pay for those repairs. So we decided that we will not be running the Ginzugroomer on the trails this season. This will have the added advantage of saving money on gas as well as volunteer hours.

This season we do have a great group of committed volunteers willing to groom the trails. Tod Tibbetts will once again head the grooming crew: Bruce Kime, Art Dahl, Todd Kupka, and Kay Robinson. We also have three new volunteer groomers: Ron Reed, Edgar Davidson, and Steve King. Kay Robinson, Todd Kupka, and Art Dahl own their own snowmobiles, so we have three back-up machines in case the club’s machines break down and we don’t have the funds to repair them. We appreciate all these volunteers’ commitment to keeping the West Elk trails open this season.

The projected condition of the trails this season will be a two-snowmobile-wide packed trail on Hwy 819, Kay’s Loop, and Eric’s Loop, as volunteers and time permit. Watch this blog for trail openings.

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