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MinnesotaTrail sticker...and common sence legislation


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Ok, did you know, if you are ice fishing on a lake and using your snowmobile"""and"''' a Grant-n-aid snowmobile trail crosses the lake'''and''' you ride down ANY marked portion of the trail on the lake to get to your fishing spot. You will need a $15.00 per year state trail sticker.


If your doing all of the above and riding your ATV, driving your truck, a bus, a 747, Etc you don't need a trail sticker.

So much for common sense legislation

Sorry I disagree with this, , many fisherman NEVER trail ride and use the snowmobile just for ice fishing.

Also, this is a officers discreation thing. What one officer allows, the other may not

What has been told to me by a C.O...The statuate(sp?) reads, ANY! snowmobile on a Grant n Aid trail must have a trail sticker..so they have to enforce the law, as many/most trails crossing a lake are Grant n Aid trails.

Well, isn't also e-legal to ride a ATV on a grant n Aid snowmobile trail? So, why are ATV's allowed on a Grant N Aid trail crossing a lake?

I'm just picking this law apart. It looks to me as they are using the law with out common sence and picking on a snowmobilier who uses his machine for ice fishing only or in a year like this with little to no snow. Many are not even able to ride the trails. But! they have choosen to do more ice fishing. The state is going to get their money one way or the other.

For my family, we have six snowmobilies. we have road exactly "ZERO" miles on a Grant n Aid trail this year.

But we have choosen to do more ice fishing. On many lakes this year, the marked snowmobile trail is the only true safe way to move around the lake(tested and marked)

I'm going fishing this weekend on a lake that has a Grant n Aid trail crossing it and I will have to buy a $16.00 trail sticker for my sons sled for a two day deal. I dought he will even get to ride a groomed trail this year.

If a ATV, pickup truck, bus, Boing 747 can ride on a Grant n Aid trail on the lake surface without a trail permit, so should a snowmobile!

I think people should bring this up to their legislaters. I'm all for supporting the snowmobile clubs but I believe they pushed this trail sticker thing through, knowing that people who do not benifit from the sticker, would be charged for one. Thats theft in my mind and it's wrong!

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While I agree with most of your rant, you are wrong on the clubs pushing this through to steal from anyone. As a matter of fact our club was opposed to the trail sticker, at least if it was only applied to snowmobiles. We feel that anyone using any of the trails should be paying the same fee, regardless of whether they are on a sled, atv, bike, ski's or their feet. But as is the norm, the sledders are the ones footing the bill. Some clubs, maybe even most may have supported this sticker, but don't lump everyone into the same category and accuse us of being theives.

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Snowman678, I'm glad to hear your club was on the right side of the fence, but many, many were not.

Let me tell ya a little story. I sat on the board of a snowmobile club a number of years back.

we had a year where good snowmobiling ran over into April. It was ok'ed by the state to keep the trails open. The club north of ours decided to pull their groomer off the trails because of a lack of funding to keep grooming. They were asking the state for more funds. At our club meeting, it was voted on to do the same. "BUT" we had plenty of funds to continue grooming. "BUT" some of our club(most) wanted to get their hand in the states kitty because the club north of us was getting "FREE" money.

I was one of the only people to vote against it.

How about like clubs in the southern parts of Minnesota. They rarley get enough snow to even groom, but they contnue to get the same funding $$$ a club in the north gets. Places Like Prior Lake, they got some of the best grooming equipment in the state. Eguipment that sits idle most, if not all year. It's one of those spend it or loose it things. Clubs all over the state will try their dangest to spend the funds they have during this low snow year, just to get as much money as they can again next year


It should be saved and banked up for those big snow years when it will be needed.

Thats why many clubs have no problem taking snowmobile ice fishermans money for the trail sticker

GREED!! Plain and simple

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2 thoughts, I doubt the law was purposly created so that no one could touch a lake with a state trail going through it with out the permit, it is just the way the law worked out. If you want the law refined and perfected well, that would cost a lot of tax payer dollars to do so.

My second thought, I laughed as I read your post, you ARE using the trail. You basicly said you take the lake trail becuase it is marked and safe. BINGO. Someone has to pay for a guy to go out there and check/mark the trail. You are using the service, maybe only for a mile, maybe only once in the whole calander year, but you are using it.

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you laughed?

At what?

The fact that only a snowmobile was being charged to be on any poration of the trail crossing the lake srface and NO other typy of vehicle.

It is discrimanation...plain and simple

Everybody can drive anywhere on the lake surface including on any poration of a Grant n Aid Marked snowmobile trail on the lake surface, without a trail sticker... Except a Snowmobile.

Thats right, ATV's, trucks, cars, you name it..can drive on the Grant n Aid Snowmobile trail poration of the lake without a trail sticker

Thats where the problem lies...thats wrong and the law is wrong!!!

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At you, you whine about having to pay for this trail, and you use it.

Now I guess you want cars, trucks, 747s and atvs to pay for the trails also. Of these 5 groups which vehicle type puts the most miles on them in the winter? I don't have any studies backing me up but it probably goes something like this:

Trucks - .1%

Cars - .01%

ATVs - 2%

747s - 0%

Snowmobiles - 98%

I gotta say if I am a state number cruncher looking to fill the buget gaps for winter trail maintanence I go to Snowmobilers. That means the ATVs and trucks skate but life can't always be 100% fair.

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MuskieJunkie, sorry your unable to grasp the concept

The lake we were on was Burndtside at the Burndtside Bash.

The lake trail wasn't even groomed

infact it looked like it hasn't been groomed this entire year.

Infact a road packed down with car traffic was the trail on the lake.

I paid $32.00 to ride on it for two days

Someday, you will find out the value of a dollar and whats worth fighting for.

On another note, I'll gladly pay to ride on any Grant n Aid trail on land, when we have truly ridable snow.


Land and water..big difference..water is multi use...land is snowmobile only use

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In addition, $30.5 million in gas tax will be transferred to the Watercraft, Snowmobile, ATV, Off-Highway Motorcycle and Off-Road Vehicle accounts. This is the tax on gasoline used to operate boats, snowmobiles, ATVs and off-road vehicles.

This quote was taken from the DNR HSOforum - obviously 30.5 million isn't quite enough to maintain state trails. The state is siphoning off the funds to who knows where, and the snowmobile clubs are being paid for not maintaining the trails. I bought the trail sticker last year, but I'm not buying it again. In fact, I'm seriously thinking of getting rid of my snowmobile because I only use it a few times per year for fishing anyway. IMOP, it's a big rip-off for most people.

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MuskieJunkie, sorry your unable to grasp the concept

I grasp it perfectly, you want to only pay for what you use, and in a perfect world that is how it would work for everyone. Let me reiterate my point (and then I am out of this discussion as I am getting no where), creating these laws and policies costs tax payer dollars, legislators have to make these policies simple in order to pass and be cost effective. Make all the snowmobiles in the state pay for all the snowmobile trails in the state, simple yes, completely fair no.

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Make all the snowmobiles in the state pay for all the snowmobile trails in the state, simple yes, completely fair no.

As a snowmobiler I have to agree with MuskieJunkie. COs shouldn't have to decide if someone on a sled on a trail is "just running over to my buddies shack, just running into the resort for more bait, just warming up the sled, or on a pleasure ride". I can see your point if you are simply "crossing the trail" since thats allowed on roadways too. It works the same way for cars, whose registration dollars go to all roads, even though we dont use them all and when walkers, joggers bicycles and scooters can all use them for free. ATV registration goes to ATV trails, even the ones we use that run on or near state forest roads that are used by everyone with every different mode of transportation and already paid for by car registrations. Technically ATVs are illegal to ride on snowmobile trails in Minnesota aren't they? I honestly don't know if that includes lakes or not.

Whatever the case, for the time being I don't see an easily workable solution that will satisfy everyone involved. Do you have a workable example or suggestion you'd like to throw out there?

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I hear ya. I've seen it all starting with the infamous stud sticker that was $49 the first year. Trail stickers started as non-resident things in Mi an Wi only to turn into another money pit everywhere. Cost of ownership. I still like the sport enough to pay the expenses but no longer ride in Minnesota. The mild winters only compound the problem.

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A simple fix to the problem here would be limiting the CO to only issue tickets to riders on Land and not Water! Ride all you want from your cabin to the shack, but get on the trail entrance/exit off the lake without a sticker then you should get a ticket.

I buy it but totaly disagree with being ticketed on a lake.

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I still don't understand the trail sticker. I understand that there is a cost of riding the trails. But why did they add a tax for trails that don't exist. With the lack of snow anyway the don't exist. I am a part time resident so I missed the reasoning behind this thing. But I cannot understand adding a tax to that is to maintain a trail when the trails don't cost much to maintain. Can someone fill me in?

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I was taken back on your comments but need to set you back on course. Trails that do cross lakes believe it or not are maintained you just don't notice it. Most clubs either are checking ice conditions and/or putting reflectors on the lakes to indicate where the trails cross the lake. So you might not see a groomer cross your favorite lake there is somebody always checking ice conditions to notify if lakes or swamps are safe to cross. Also do you know for sure how much it cost to maintain trails? I don't and the only people that do are in the clubs. Please notify them and tell us how much it is to maintain trails because it just might be way more than you and I can comprehend.


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I copied this from the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association HSOforum. It gives a good explaination of trail funding including the reason for a trail sticker.

Trail Maintenance

Snow Happens, Trails Don't


Through the efforts of snowmobile volunteers across the state, Minnesotans and visitors alike enjoy over 20,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. The maintenance of approximately 90% of these trails is the responsibility of snowmobile clubs and Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) volunteers. MnUSA is the statewide organization that supports the clubs and volunteers as the voice at the legislature, promoting positive legislation to protect, enhance and fund our trail system. MnUSA depends upon membership dues to fund these activities.

MnUSA provides answers to the following frequently asked questions about trail building, maintenance and grooming and snowmobile trail funding in Minnesota.

What roles do volunteer snowmobile clubs play in creating and maintaining Minnesota snowmobile trails?

Clubs map, design, construct, mark, groom and maintain approximately 18,000 miles of trails.

Clubs provide the culverts, bridges, signage, trail maps, etc.

Clubs obtain permits from land owners to use their land for the trail system.

Clubs purchase their own grooming equipment.

Club volunteers use their own equipment such as chain saws, tools, ATVs, etc. for trail maintenance work.

What role does the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) play in maintaining snowmobile trails?

DNR administers the grants for funding. These grants provide financial assistance to the clubs as a reimbursement program. Locally controlled trails can then exist where none have before.

DNR constructs, grooms and maintains approximately 2,000 miles of the approximately 20,000 mile snowmobile trail system.

Do snowmobile clubs receive any reimbursement for the creation and maintenance of Minnesotas snowmobile trails?

Presently only 65 percent of equipment use and labor for snowmobile trail maintenance is reimbursed to the clubs through grants.

Equipment use and labor used for grooming the trails is reimbursed at 90 percent.

The portions not reimbursed are paid for by the clubs through fundraisers, donations, charitable gambling, etc.

Where does funding for snowmobile trails come from?

Funding comes from snowmobile registration, snowmobile trail pass and 1 percent of unrefunded gas tax which is the tax paid on gas purchased by snowmobilers for non-highway use. This money is deposited in a dedicated snowmobile account to pay for snowmobile trails, enforcement and DNR administration.

What role can I, as a snowmobiler, have in protecting and maintaining the trails?

Join a club. For information on snowmobile clubs in your area, contact the MnUSA office or visit MnUSA on the web at www.mnsnowmobiler.org

Join MnUSA. For more information contact the MnUSA office or visit MnUSA on the web at www.mnsnowmobiler.org.

Vote for candidates that support snowmobiling and recreational access to public lands

Snowmobile Trail Funding SystemCurrently approximately $13 million is appropriated annually from the snowmobile account for the development, maintenance and operation of the state snowmobile system. Approximately $7.2 million is needed to run the grant programs to the clubs in an average winter under the current system of reimbursement. If there is exceptional snow, additional funds are needed. (An additional $1 million was required to groom the trails in the 1996-97 season). An additional $5.8 million is appropriated to the DNR for enforcement, state trails and management of the snowmobile account.

Presently clubs are reimbursed for operating groomers at approximately $59/hour when actual costs are more than $90/hour including significant increases in equipment and fuel costs. An increase in reimbursement to the clubs has been requested. Additional funds are needed to support the requested increase. A portion of the requested increase will be awarded with the expanded trail pass.

During the 2002 Legislative Session, MnUSA requested that funds be appropriated from the snowmobile account to add approximately 2500 miles of trails funded through local volunteer snowmobile clubs to the grant system. The funds were available in the snowmobile account due to an increase in unrefunded gas tax and the increased number of registered snowmobiles. Many of these locally funded trails are in the western part of the state and these areas benefit greatly from the economic impact of the growth of winter tourism.

During the 2005 Legislative Session the trail pass requirement previously for just out of state visitors was expanded to include all snowmobiles ridden on trails in Minnesota, including Minnesota residents. These additional funds will be used to groom and maintain grant-in-aid trails and will provide a portion of the requested increase in reimbursement for grooming and equipment used in maintaining trails.

Minnesotas snowmobile trail system is the backbone of winter tourism in the state. With a present grant-in-aid trail budget of $7.2 million going to the clubs to build and maintain approximately 90% of the trails, a conservative $200 million is generated in tourism dollars. A recently completed economic impact study reports the snowmobile effect on Minnesota includes 8,000 jobs with wages and salaries of $245 million; $529 million in gross state product; $1 billion in gross receipts/sales and $56 million in state and local tax revenues. Snowmobiling is an important industry to Minnesota and adequate funding is necessary to provide the trails.

# # #


Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association

7040 Lakeland Avenue N., Suite 212, Brooklyn Park, MN 55428

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Thanks for posting for the DNR HSOforum the cost of trail maintenance.

Non-snowmobile club members don't realize how much time volunteers put in to maintain the trails, and the cost to clubs. This was one of the main reasons to have the trail permit. A majority of snowmobile owners buy their sleds and register them. They don't join clubs and don't volunteer their time.

As for the lake staked trails. Our club has to buy those 2" X 2" stakes, buy the reflective material (which is not cheap), buy the signs, use our own sleds and equipment to put them all out, only to have someone in a car or truck mow them down when they are on the lake ice fishing.

In addition, speaking for the Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club, we have had to buy our groomers and drags. We own three Bombardiars - 2 160BR Tractors and 1 180BR Tractor and several drags for grooming the Tomahawk Trail; 2 Ski Doo Skandics and drags for grooming the portages between all the lake trails; and a small storage garage for all the stakes and signs. We pay rent to house and maintain the groomers. We pay our groomer operators and mechanic $12/hr. whereas the DNR operators get $45/hr. We have finally gotten our debt down to less than $60,000.

I did ask our State Rep. David Dill about the snowmobiles use for fishing and not riding the groomed trails, but following the staked lake trails. This is what he said:


The way it has been explained to me is that a marked groomer trail on the lake that is a part of the designated GIA trail system requires a sticker. Thus far I have received no complaints regarding citations issued to fisherman. I haven't heard of any enforcement on this issue. This is a gray area which would be very difficult to define. - State Rep. David Dill

My suggestion is to get this gray area better defined by contacting your State Rep.

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We pay our groomer operators and mechanic $12/hr. whereas the DNR operators get $45/hr

where does it say that the DNR groomers are geting paid $45/hr? confused.gif

I can tell you that the guys out there grooming that are working for trails and waterways, and parks, they aren't making anything over $20/hr...

but I do agree, maintaining the trails are not cheap, and money isn't growing on trees. Even though I almost never ride on trails, thank you guys and gals in the clubs for your all hard work.

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I do understand the trails cost money to maintain and if I found out the actual costs, I would be surprised. My question was directed towards the additional trail sticker. Prior to the sticker, how were these trails maintained??? I cannot see that the cost has increased since there has been so little snow. I have never seen a trail groomer on any lake or trail. (Although I am sure they are there). I do see the reflectors on the trails, but I don't understand how it costs more, at least not enough to warrant an increase. I cannot see the need for an increase, given the low amount of snow in the past few years, yet the additional fee was still there. What was the reason for the additional fee for? IMO, the fee was doubled because. I did not say that I knew what it cost to maintain a snowmobile trail, but I know it did not double. I think everyone should know what the money is being spent on and I don't know how the additional money is being spent.

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I'm just as bull headed as alot of you with this sticker. Heres my deal...

I NEVER ride any groomed trails! The end. If I go ice fishing, I'm never on a snowmaobile trail crossing the lake. If anything, I'm following a road in wich case I already paid $8.00 for the use of that! As for just playing in the ditches around town. It's been many years since I have been on any kind of trail, so I don't and will not buy a trail sticker. I'm not gonna put the money towards something I don't use.

On the other hand, if I did use groomed trails, I would have no problem paying the sticker fee. If your using them, you should help pay for them.

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This what I have been told.

The Lic. money from snowmobiles goes into a general fund. Then the DNR moves it around to many places(pet projects)Etc.(some would call it robbing the Lic. funds paid by snowmobilers to fund projects of those who don't pay their way..inline skaters, bikers, Etc.)

So, clubs pushed for dedicated funding from the trail sticker. The money's are only going to be used for snowmobile clubs and grooming. It is a good plan, just needs some re-wording IMHO.

It's just too bad the Lic. money couldn't be dedicated to those who paid it in, in the first place. Then there would be no need to pay twice and only benifit once IMHO

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Yes, the story I have heard is that there is plenty of revenue from the gas tax - it just gets "lost" when it goes into the general fund. As I see it, the problem with the trail sticker is that it is a regressive type of fee - the riders who ride the trails very little pay the same as the ones who use the trails all the time. The gas tax is fair in that the riders who use the most gas also pay the most. Too bad the funds don't end up where they are supposed to...

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If I understand correctly, the way clubs get grant in aid money from the state is by grooming. So if there is no snow there is no grooming and no money for the clubs. This causes problems for the clubs because they still need to pay for the grooming equipment. I believe that is where the money from the trail sticker goes but don't quote me.

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