Sledding The County - Snowmobile Disaster Relief Grant

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 11:15 AM EST
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The Christmas Wind Storm of 2022 left many snowmobile clubs on the hook for any damage that occurred along snowmobile trails they maintain. In this weeks Sledding the County, Newssource8′s Brian Bouchard learns about the Snowmobile Disaster Relief Grant and how the program can ease the burden on local clubs.

“After this last windstorm, all the clubs here in the county have been battling blown down trees. These take huge amounts of man hours and sometimes equipment when not safe enough to approach by hand.”

Matthew Steadman is the Northern Region Vice President of the Maine Snowmobile Association. He says clubs should be aware of their options for reimbursement of cleanup costs through the Snowmobile Disaster Relief Grant.

“It comes out of the trail fund. There’s 100,000 dollars sitting in there on an annual basis to fund clubs response to a catastrophic event, say our wind storm from December 23rd.”

Steadman went on to say that clubs can apply for the grant up to 60 days following the catastrophic event and could be eligible for up to 20,000 dollars of reimbursement as decided by the Snowmobile Advisory Council. In addition to things like vegetation clearing, the grant can also be used to reimburse bridge failures, water crossing failures or major washouts which require remediation efforts by clubs.

“You’ve gotta take before and after pictures, you have to fill out a very straightforward two page application which is available on the state website.”

According to Steadman, so far, he is not aware of any local clubs taking advantage of Snowmobile Disaster Relief Grants, though he believes they should apply and be reimbursed for incurred costs.

“Our trail maintenance grant is really designed for grooming, putting up signs, repairing bridges and things like that, and struggles to fully fund the clubs expense incurred there. So when we have events like this that elevate those trail maintenance expenses, we want to be able to cover that separately so you’re not eating into your winter grooming fund or your bridge repair fund for a catastrophic event.”

Any clubs with questions regarding the Snowmobile Disaster Relief Grant are encouraged by Stedman to reach out to the State Snowmobile Program under the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

“Reach out to the state office, talk to Joe Higgins who is the Director of the Snowmobile Program, he can answer those questions. Make Sure that you are asking questions ahead of sending in your grant application so that you aren’t missing the deadline”

For more information regarding the Snowmobile Disaster Relief Grant please visit:

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8