By Brian Baxter
Troy Snowmobile Club is psyched about this coming winter. Like most all of us that enjoy recreating during this long season in Northwest Montana, they are hoping for a substantially snow packed season. Time will tell.
The members have good reason to be pumped about this winter. The areas that the group rides have picture postcard trails, fantastic play areas, and phenomenal views. And the groomers have a new home.
Entering the groomer building, the size, solid construction, and that newness smell of Douglas fir studs are all impressive. But what blew this reporter away, was the club owned Piston Bully snow groomer. This magna groomer is 14 feet wide, and with serious looking tracks that have protrusions and plates of metal for traction called grousers, it somewhat resembles a panzer tank of World War II frame. Sitting next to it, somewhat dwarfed and resembling a tonka-toy, is a state owned LMC 1800 groomer that is actually respectful in it’s own right.
In talking with the current president of the club inside the rather cool but roomy groomer home, Jerry Wandler said, “I have a passion for snowmobiling, and that is why we do what we do. Also, the club helps promote winter recreation in Troy and Yaak, and working with the Forest Service on trails and access.” Jerry has been snowmobiling since 1975, which gives him over 40 years of riding sleds.
The groomer building was made possible with funding from a Recreational Trails Program Grant, and club dollars. The City of Troy granted permission for the structure to be built on city property, with a 15 year lease.
The Troy Snowmobile Club, Inc. was started in November of 2004, and is a Montana non-profit, volunteer and membership organization committed to the advancement of recreational snowmobiling activities. These activities include trail grooming, preservation of forest access, sponsored events, safety forums and training.
The original club was started after a grant application was submitted and approved by then Asarco Mines and Metal Mines Inc. which in recent years has replaced Asarco.
The club has many generous supporters, and club members continue to write many grant applications. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks contribute funds for grooming and fuel for groomers, and the Recreational Trails Program Grant donates to weed control and trail clearing. Along with a dedicated all volunteer crew, these funds enable trails to be worked on for other non-motorized and motorized trails which benefits all users.
The Resource Advisory Council (RAC) which includes the U.S. Forest Service, Lincoln County, and other groups representing outdoor recreational pursuits have also assisted with funding for projects like the Keeler Mountain Warming Shelter that now has a good wood stove and a roof that does not leak. At approximately 5,000 feet in elevation, this is a very important asset, as Mr. Wandler states.
Sponsors currently include Gambles Hardware; Kootenai Drug and Hardware; Montana Power Products; Northwest Montana Web Designs; Northwest Motor Sports; and the R-Place Restaurant. The club utilizes the snow telemetry locations also known as SNOTEL sites located at Bear Mountain, Hawkins Lake, and Garver Creek to obtain up to date, accurate weather information and snow depths. The Troy Snowmobile Club is people oriented, witnessed by the fact that they offer a Troy High School Scholarship, encourage safe snowmobiling, and offer family oriented activities. Club officers are President Jerry Wandler, email at: firstname.lastname@example.org; Vice President Ron Pierce, email at: email@example.com; and Secretary / Treasurer Andrea Wandler. To obtain an application, maps of trails, or other inquiries write to the Troy Snowmobile Club at P.O. Box 1002, Troy, MT. 59935, or see the website at: troysnowmobileclub.org
Set in the beautiful Kootenai National Forest, and with scenic vistas of both the East and West Cabinet Mountains, amenities are available in Troy and nearby Libby, and access from both eastern and western towns is available from U.S. Highway 2. No matter your level of experience, novice, intermediate, or extreme, you’ll find warm hearted folks and cold pristine forest trails to enjoy with the Troy Snowmobile Club.
Club President Jerry Wandler hangs on to the Piston Bully Groomer in it’s new home. Photo by Brian Baxter, The Montanian.