HELENA — The Helena area has the second largest trail system in all of Montana, and the Helena Snowdrifters snowmobile club helps to keep trails the open by maintaining a fraction of the 4,000+ miles of snowmobile trails throughout the region.
Anna Glueckert has been the president of the Snowdrifters for 14 years, and though the snowmobile season runs October to April, she explains that the group is still busy.
“We do trail cleanups; people with their side by sides, dirt bikes, four wheelers, we try to clean the trails. Today there’s a high wind warning of 50 mile-per-hour winds and that will knock over a ton of trees on our trails which makes them unusable, unpassable,” she said.
The club has several meetings in the coming months, and are always looking to add more people to their team.
She explained, “We work with numbers for our grants. We get grant money from the [Montana Department of] Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to operate our groomer. They want to see how many numbers and how many people are involved and how many want to use our trails. Trail counters are what the Nordic Ski Club uses, we work with them a lot of times to groom them so we need people to be involved so we can show how many people use our trails."
Glueckert says the most important thing trail users can do to stay safe, even in the spring, is doing avalanche awareness. She also hopes that those who use the trails will preserve them.
“Clean up after yourselves. If you pack it in, pack it out, obviously. Clean up the trees. If you see some trees have fallen, then clean them up. Don’t be tearing up ground that does not have a designated trail to it. That’s a huge thing, that people want to close a lot of trails, and we fight to keep trails open.”
To learn more, or join up, visit the website.