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More in Community
Tracking new club members
NORWAY - Winter can be great fun, especially in Maine. What could be better than snowmobiling on miles and miles of trails and seeing the wonderful views of the western mountains?
According to Dianne Gammon, president of the Trackers Snowmobile Club, there’s only one thing better, and that’s being part of a snowmobile club.
“This is a great club with lots of camaraderie and a good way to make new friends who enjoy snowmobiling,” she said. “For those new to the sport, we take a special interest in showing them the ropes, teaching them about the trails, etc.”
“We also sponsor lots of fun events during the season, like the Snow Fest,” the president added.
Snowmobiling has a long history in this area, dating back almost a hundred years.
“One of the earliest snowmobiles belonged to a Norway resident, Walter Cullinan,” said Mark McGovern, secretary. “The earliest models, made in the 1920’s, used a model T Ford with a conversion kit that added skis in the front and a chain connecting the front and back wheels. This was the predecessor of modern day snowmobiles.”
“Walter Cullinan used to deliver the mail in the Norway area in this early snowmobile,” added the secretary. “It is currently on display in the Norway Town Hall.”
The Norway Trackers club has been around for well over 20 years.
“Membership varies from year to year,” explained McGovern. “We usually have between 70 to 100 household members, plus 15 to 20 business members, and we maintain over 50 miles of trails in the Norway area.”
The club recently lost one of its beloved members.
“We were greatly saddened by the sudden death of Richard Mowatt last month,” said McGovern. “He was one of the Norway Trackers founding members, and a leader and role model for everyone. Richard was actively involved in both the snowmobile and ATV clubs. He knew the trails like no one else and loved the Norway Trackers. We will miss him very much.”
Anyone is welcome to ride on the trails, whether or not they belong to the club. The club maintains the trails and grooms them after every snowfall.
“We have some of the best snowmobile riding in western Maine,” said McGovern. “Our trails are well-maintained, well-groomed and fun to ride. The riding gets much rougher outside the Norway area, to the south especially. We are lucky to have so many great trails that provide a smooth ride in the area. Some fabulous views from the mountains overlooking the area can be reached by snowmobile, such as the Patch Mountain trail.”
So why become a member? The Norway Trackers teach younger riders and those new to snowmobiling about riding in general, and the all-important aspect: safety. And there’s all the fun that goes along with it!
“Beyond the great riding, the club sponsors a number of social events,” said the secretary, “such as group rides during the snowmobiling season. We also sponsor a club sliding party in January and informal get-togethers during the summer over a BBQ or on a member’s place on the lake.”
The biggest of these is the annual SnowFest on Norway Lake, which is held on the last, full weekend in January. This year it will be held on January 29 and 30, weather and ice permitting. The SnowFest is the biggest annual fundraisers for the club and has been held for many years.
“It’s two days of snowmobile races, camaraderie, an antique snowmobile parade, food and fun for the whole family,” said McGovern. “If there’s an equivalent to the Norway Summer Arts Festival in scope but held in January, it has to be the Norway Snow Fest. Hundreds of snowmobilers from all over the state, and quite a few from out of state come to enjoy the drag racing, food and camaraderie. Ed Smith, vice president of the club coordinates an antique snowmobile parade, which is always a great deal of fun.”
Going out to help on the trails is a great way to meet other club members and learn the trails. The club meets on Sunday mornings during the fall at the Lake Store on the Lake Road around 7:45 a.m. to go out and inspect the trails, clear brush and build bridges over water holes.
“This is a lot of fun and anyone is welcome to join in, even if it’s only once per season. Trail work is generally 8:30 to 11:00 a.m., although many dedicated club members spend considerable additional time during the week working on the trails.”
The club has access to two groomers, called Tuckers. One is owned by the club; the other is owned by Ken’s Yamaha in Norway. Both pieces of equipment faithfully go out after every major snowstorm to make sure that snowmobile riding in the area is kept at peak condition.
“We are also looking into acquiring a rescue sled and working with local EMS and rescue service personnel, and a helicopter rescue group based in Lewiston and Bangor to establish two Medivac landing sites in the area. These sites can be used for emergency evacuation of individuals should an accident occur in our area on the trails, both ATV in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter.”
Anyone interested is welcome to visit the Tracker’s meetings, on the first Tuesdays of every month at the Norway Town Hall. Potluck supper starts at 6:30, with the business meeting at 7.
For more information you can check out the club at norwaytrackers.com, or they may also call Mark McGovern, at 527-2649.