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A brief history of Snow Road Snowmobile Clubby Alice Gilchrist
In 1976 a group of local snowmobilers established the Snow Road Snowmobile Club to organize a network of trails that would link to the neighbouring communities of Ompah, Silver Lake, Sharbot Lake and Robertson Lake. This involved engaging landowners for permission to route trails through their properties or to use concession roads that were un-maintained during the winter season, as well as snow banks along plowed roads.
Members met at the home of Ken and Margaret Millar for several years and then purchased vacant property from Dale Gemmill. With many hours of donated labour and generous donations from members of the community, a clubhouse was built in 1978. It was a small building heated with a wood stove and it had no indoor plumbing. It quickly became a hub of activity with fundraising dinners, birthday and anniversary parties and regular potluck dinners. Over the years, with the help of grants and private contributions and fundraising efforts, the club was able to build an access for disabled persons, install indoor plumbing, replace the wood stove with propane heat for safety and connect telephone service.
In 1998 the club acquired a large propane stove just in time for its grand initiation as a shelter during the Ice Storm. With the donations of a huge generator to provide power, and large amounts of food, etc. from the Canadian Forces as well as businesses and private individuals, the clubhouse became the community centre where friends and neighbours could meet to enjoy a hot meal and share updates on progress by hydro workers rebuilding the lines, volunteer firemen keeping the elderly or shut-ins supplied with food and water, and the army clearing the downed trees. For over two weeks, club and community volunteers made this a welcoming shelter for residents of Lanark Highlands and North Frontenac. The clubhouse is still a designated shelter for the Township of Lanark Highlands.
In April 2011 the club obtained a $60,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to supplement club funds of $23,700 in order to upgrade and expand our building. It is now 2100 square feet.
This essentially became a complete overhaul involving total gutting of the structure as the original floor joists were unsafe.
Again, local businesses and community members and snowmobilers generously donated skills, labour and materials. Some of these volunteers had helped to build the original clubhouse. A complete new floor with radiant heat was installed; the kitchen area was expanded; washroom facilities were revamped and the open space was enlarged. Costs escalated as unforeseen expenses such as installation of a new range hood to meet current safety guidelines were required along with an upgrade to the septic system to meet increased capacity.
The clubhouse reopened for the 2011/2012 season and held regular fundraising events to rebuild their finances. Club members hosted three fundraising breakfasts for local charities: Relay for Life, Alzheimer’s Society and Melanoma.
The clubhouse continues to be very much an activity centre enjoyed by snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers alike all year. Sledders enjoy access 24/7 during the winter season. The clubhouse is also available for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Christmas parties, family reunions, and as a training facility.
The grand re-opening of the Snow Road Snowmobile club will be Saturday, June 23, 1 to 3 p.m. with the ribbon cutting at 1:30. Everyone is welcome and there will be refreshments.