By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN Instead of yellow school busses, Stahlke Bus Service’s parking lot was full of snowmobiles on a sunny day in January.
Since 2000, the Delano Snowstormers’ Snowmobile Club has been conducting yearly youth snowmobile safety training courses.
This year, the eight-hour course was taught by certified instructors Curt Ritter, Duane Matter, Rita Kaiser, Mike Kopp, Wayne Gabrelcik, and Gaylen Hayes.
Assisting with the course was John Kaiser, Charlie Brown, Jim Blodgett, Bob Gabrelcik, Teri Kurash, Shirlene McKinnon, Rena Viere, Cody Rassatt, Janice Matter, and Carol Brown.
The course includes basic snowmobile safety, classroom training, and testing. The youth are taught about Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) state laws and DNR officer Rick Relick spoke to the group.
Snowmobile maintenance and equipment is covered, as well as a code of ethics, outside driving course with snowmobiles and trail signage, rules, regulations, and hand signals.
Snowstormers meetings are conducted the second Monday of each month at the Delano American Legion at 7:30 p.m.
Each year, the group sets up and maintains the snowmobile trail system in Delano for snowmobile enthusiasts to enjoy, including trail take-down each spring. The trails officially open Dec. 1 and close April 1.
A Wright County Snowmobile Club (WCSA) groomer is shared between the Rockford Snowmobile Club and Delano Snowstormers.
As a member of WCSA, and the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association, snowstormers enjoy club rides on local and surrounding trail systems, and also throughout Minnesota.
Fundraisers take place to raise funds to purchase equipment for trail maintenance and safety training.
“We have a board of officers, three trail coordinators, two groomer coordinators and members who provide club support all year long,” said Janice Matter, Delano Snowstormers secretary. “New members are always welcome.”
If you own and operate a snowmobile and are not a member of a local snowmobile club, Snowstormers invites you to become a member.
Wright County trail maps are available at local businesses throughout Delano and Wright County. For more information, call (952) 955-2894.
Snowmobiler Code of Ethics
1. I will be a good sports enthusiast. I recognize that people judge all snowmobile owners by my actions. I will use my influence with other snowmobile owners to promote fair conduct.
2. I will not litter on trails or camping areas. I will not pollute lakes or streams.
3. I will not damage living trees, shrubs, or other natural features. I will go out only when there is sufficient snow so that I will not damage the land.
4. I will respect other people’s property and rights.
5. I will lend a helping hand when i see someone in distress.
6. I will make myself and my vehicle available to assist in search and rescue parties.
7. I will not interfere with or harass hikers, skiers, snowshoers, ice anglers, or other winter sports enthusiasts. I will respect their rights to enjoy our recreation facilities.
8. I will know and obey all federal, state/provincial and local rules regulating the operation of snowmobiles in areas where I use my vehicle. I will inform officials when using public lands.
9. I will not harass wildlife I will avoid areas posted for the protection or feeding of wildlife.
10. I will stay on marked trails or marked roads open to snowmobiles. I will not snowmobile where prohibited
From the DNR Snowmobile Safety Training Manual