While gathering is not allowed and many sports are cancelled for the moment, there are still ways to get outside and enjoy nature this winter.
The Bonnyville Snowdusters, a club that’s been around since 1993, is bringing awareness to the trails and cabins in the area available to use, while also looking for new members.
Over the years, the snowmobiling club has developed trails around Moose Lake, and along the Beaver and Sand Rivers, providing a 50 km round trip.
They’ve also built and maintained three cabins to warm up during your ride with a wood stove, benches, a firepit and outhouse, thanks to help from local businesses, said club member Terry Coulombe.
“It’s just a group to go out and enjoy the winter and the season in the area with people who have the same likes and people who like to get out of the house,” said Coulombe.
“Our trails are part of the Trans Canada Trail, which is a benefit for everybody….through our volunteers and members, what we do is go out and keep our trail systems up to date.
“We look after our cabins and make sure they’re maintained because they get used a lot by a lot of people.”
The club meets monthly and looks to promote safe riding for individual riders, and the whole family, while meeting like-minded people who enjoy snowmobiling.
“It is a really good group atmosphere going out doing the volunteerism. I think is almost as fun as riding with the family because you’re out there with your buddies and you’re clearing some trees, keeping the trail safe, maybe putting up some new signs, looking after any maintenance that’s required on the cabins.
“It’s not a full-time job, it’s not a part-time job to do all this stuff, it’s not like we want people to come out and you’re gonna have to work for free forever, it’s an occasional come out and socialize,” he said.
While the club is re-working with some local landowners on land agreements so they put up new signage and also work on a new trial map for riders to use.
The Bonnyville Snowdusters are part of Alberta Snowmobiling Association, and Coulombe said he encourages people interested in joining the club to buy a membership.
This revenue helps toward trail development and operation, and 75 per cent of it benefits the local club.
If you are interested in becoming a member, contact the Bonnyville Snowdusters on Facebook.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for people to spend more time with their families outdoors, not cooped up in the kitchen or in the basement or hiding in the garage.”