As I sit here reflecting on the first day of this conference it is apparent that we have many common challenges as other motorized recreation organizations across Canada. How do we attract new members, how do we improve the image of our sport, and how do we improve safety. But there are some differences as well. The BCSF is celebrating 50 years this season and other Provincial Snowmobile Associations will be celebrating this milestone soon. So the other motorized sectors are much younger and are a different point in their organizational life.
On the snowmobile side we are instead more focussed on how do we sustain what we have built. Nationally there are 1,000’s km’s of trails, huge groomer fleets, signage, and bridges/infrastructure. How do we support our volunteers on the ground and stay relevant to our membership after 50 years. The funding model for us is much different as we are still grass roots and work from the bottom up. The people on the ground are still volunteers within clubs. Those volunteers got together and started working together as Provincial Federations and Associations across Canada. These Associations then got together and created a National Body with the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations.
On the Summer motorized side they are replicating this in reverse. They created the National office, then they created the Provincial and then went to the ground collecting members to create clubs. They are working to create their trail networks and are young organizations as a whole. They have been able to do this top down model because of a one-time fee built into the purchase of your summer motorized equipment. This money is distributed directly to the National office and then out from there.
It will be interesting to see how the difference in creation and funding model plays out long term. Funded top down or grass roots up… I guess we will have to watch my blog in 40 years to see the answer.