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USDA $77,000 Grant Helps Windsor County Snowmobile Club Purchase New Trail Grooming Equipment

Jacqueline Susmann
North Springfield
Release Date

During a news conference at the Route 106 North Market and Deli in North Springfield Friday, officials from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and members of the Hawks Mountain Ridge Riders (HMRR) showed off their new snowmobile trail groomer. A $77,000 USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) helped the club purchase the equipment to help the snowmobile club improve trail conditions in Southeastern Vermont.

"This new trail groomer will improve trail conditions which will increase the number of snowmobile trail users and lead to more business for the restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and stores like the Route 106 North Market and Deli along the trail network," said USDA Rural Development State Director Ted Brady. "The snowmobile industry is critically important to the vitality of Vermont’s small businesses and our rural communities."

The $77,000 grant was matched by $146,295 of the club’s own investment towards the purchase of a 2015 Tucker Model 200E Sno-Cat trail groomer. The new groomer was purchased from GetSno of Newport, Vermont.

The Hawks Mountain Ridge Riders are part of the Vermont Association of Snowmobile Travelers (VAST). Each winter a snow covered highway appears that goes through back country, spectacular mountains, and friendly villages. There are 128 clubs throughout the state that maintain over 5,000 miles of trails. Vermont sets the standard with well-marked trails with easy access to fuel stops, food and accommodations.

"We sold 23,000 VAST passes in 2014, " said VAST Executive Director, Cindy Locke. "The statewide system supports over 500 jobs and is estimated to generate $600 million yearly."

Hawks Mountain Ridge Riders located in Windsor County is a key part of snowmobile travel in Southeastern Vermont. This RBEG Grant will support eleven permanent jobs, four short term jobs, six small businesses and create one new job. The impact of maintaining this portion of the trail as part of the greater trail system means that this grant also indirectly supports jobs in other parts of Vermont.

“I want to thank all the area land owners for giving their consent for use of the trails,” said HMRR Vice President, Barry Messier. “Their generosity provides winter recreation for Vermonters and tourists as well as supporting the local businesses.”

Hawk Mountain Ridge Rider President Dave Bibons noted that two of the club’s five groomer operators have become disabled in the last year.

“This is the first time Tucker Sno-Cat has modified a trail groomer with hand controls,” said Hawk Mountain Ridge Riders President Dave Bibons. “We are grateful to USDA Rural Development for their support for the purchase of this modified hand controlled groomer, which allows two of our dedicated operators to continue to work out on the trails, and makes it possible for our club to maintain our trails to the best standard.”

President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.

USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $206.2 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont/New Hampshire Rural Development website (www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html) or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.