Nopiming Snomads November Update 2021

***Trail Maintenance THIS Saturday November 6. MEET at Groomer Shed 9 AM See below for more info !

Hello fellow Snomads,

A lot sure has happened since our last communication update in August. We are no longer under threat from forest fires, and it is sure starting to feel like winter is not too far away. Our club has been very active since the fire ban has lifted and the back country is safe to travel again. We continue to focus on our long-term strategy of preparing our trails for safe travel in advance of snowfall. Our priority this year has been the Osis portion of trail 233.

Our strategy is aimed at improving areas of the trail where flooding may occur causing unsafe ice conditions. Old culverts have been replaced on both portions of Schellenberg creek where it intersects with trail 233. In addition, we have installed pond levelers at the 3-tiered beaver dam between Shane’s Shelter and Birse Lake. Using pond levelers (also known as Beaver Deceivers) is a new concept in Manitoba that we have been given a permit to test in the park. Pond Levelers are designed to help control water height on the high side of the beaver dam to prevent the dam from overflowing, or worse from breaching. We have learned over the years that beavers are relentless in their desire to build dams and trap as much water as possible. This sometimes causes flooding of our trails and makes it dangerous for our groomers and snowmobilers. Pond levelers are designed to keep the water level a couple of feet lower than the top of the dam, where it is most vulnerable to a mid winter breach. A dam breach on the high side of the dam causes hanging ice, which is the most dangerous aspect of maintaining our trails. A dam breach on the low side causes flooding and slush, which is also dangerous to snowmobilers and our groomer operators. I should also mention that a significant dam breach almost certainly spells the end of those beavers living in the pond. Therefore, we see the use of pond levelers as being a win-win situation for all involved. Although the pond levelers have only been in place for a couple of weeks, they are working exactly as anticipated, so we will want to expand the use of them to help keep our trails safe.

With the use of culverts and pond levelers we hope to make our trails safe for snowmobilers and grooming as quickly as possible to try and extend the snowmobiling season in the park. We will continue to expand this approach to other portions of our trails over the coming years.

In addition, we have purchased a new Kubota RTV X1100C with tracks to perform early season grooming. The Kubota is a commercial grade Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) designed for heavy workload use. Since it is roughly 3 times lighter than our current BR groomers, it should be safe to use once we have 10 inches of good clear ice. Based on our past experience all of our lake trails seem to freeze fairly consistently, and it is the beaver ponds and creeks that lag behind in forming good clear ice.

By reducing pond and creek ice hazards and using lighter equipment for early season grooming we hope to make our snowmobile trails safer and more accessible, especially going into late December and early January.

Last Saturday (October 30th) we had planned to do trail maintenance in a couple of spots on trail 233 near Birse lake, but the weather was not very good and so we will try again on ***Saturday November 6th at 9:00 AM at the groomer shed. Bring your ATV, chainsaw, or weedwhacker with a blade if you are able to join us. Something to drink and eat would also be a good idea, along with boots or hip waders. We plan on doing trail maintenance every Saturday weather permitting for the foreseeable future, and will post location, time, and further updates on our website.


Nopiming Sno-mads Executive

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