By DON GLYNN firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Snowmobiling season started Wednesday with an estimated 69,000 members registered in the New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA), one of the largest such organizations in the nation.
A report released last year showed that total direct spending by snowmobile owners in the Empire State was nearly $434 million.
In addition, indirect spending pushes the total statewide impact to estimated the statewide economic impact to $868 million. That report was undertaken by the State University at Potsdam Institute for Applied Research.
One of the biggest snowmobile groups in this area is the Shawnee Sno-Chiefs that meets the first Monday of each month at the Shawnee volunteer Fire Co.
“We have a very active organization and we’re always looking for more volunteers,” said Brent Walek, president of the Sno-Chiefs.
As hundreds of Niagara area snowmobilers hit the road for another season, Walek has two brief but important messages:
• Respect the property owners and stay on the trails.
• Walek noted that while the eight-county Western New York region is generally blanketed with heavy snow — especially in the Southern Tier — Niagara County trails off Ridge Road (Route 104) to Transit Road and Pendleton seemed to be in good shape. Volunteers have been grooming the trails for the past couple of weeks to prepare for the opening date.
Unfortunately, the recent higher temps and rain have put a damper on snowmobile activities.
Earlier this year, the Shawnee Sno-Chiefs were honored as the Snowmobile Club of the Year by the American Council of Snowmobile Associations at the International Snowmobile Congress in Green Bay, Wisc.