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Winter Season Wrap-Up

Posted on Apr 4, 2014

Snow is an amazing thing. It seems to come as quickly as it goes, although some would probably prefer it left as soon as possible, but during the time that it is here it does some remarkable things. It blankets all the muddy ground left from autumn rains and makes the world around us bright and sparkling. It also has a good habit of bringing people together due to their shared interest in the snow and the things they can do with it. Whether it be building a snow fort with the family or taking a snowmobiling trip with friends, there is a sense of togetherness and community that arises once winter is upon the region. This past winter season, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) began a new endeavor of utilizing an innovative information delivery system in order to reach a new demographic of people not necessarily reached before by the institute.  With outstanding support from the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club (CLSC), a number of local businesses and the snowmobiling community, the project took shape with great success.

With 183 inches of snow to play in (Mayville total), the area seemed to be continuously busy throughout this past winter season with locals and visitors going downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and snowmobiling. A number of local businesses and organizations held several events that attracted more people to the snow laced county and helped others within the community as well. It was incredible to see in several instances where a number of people, strangers and friends alike that organized because of their love of the snow sports they enjoyed, banded together for good causes or showed their support for things they cared most about. Being a part of the snowmobiling community in particular, I saw first-hand all the great things that came out of the season and the many people and organizations helped due to a bunch of people that just love to ride on the snow with their machines.

Here are just a few highlights from this past season (there were many!):

  • $1,100 was raised for JNK’s Call of the Wild Sanctuary from the “SnoFari” event led by our friends at 3 Seas Recreation. 100 snowmobilers gathered for the event and rode out to the sanctuary to learn more about their rescued tigers, lions, wolves and so forth and put their money together to help the organization put towards their animal’s care. 
  • $2,900 was raised for a local boy battling retinoblastoma, a rapidly forming cancer that affects the cells of the retina, and for another organization called the Pink Ribbon Riders who are dedicated to providing financial assistance to both men and women diagnosed with breast cancer. Pine Junction and the Pink Panthers of Findley Lake hosted a vintage snowmobile show and poker run as a benefit for the 4 year old and the non-profit organization. Although there wasn’t enough snow for the poker run, the event still drew in many snowmobile enthusiasts. As a result the monies raised helped the family get their little boy a new glass eye and the amount donated to the Pink Ribbon Riders will go to help another patient in need.

 Vintage Snowmobile Show

  • Nearly 1,300 mobile website hits and 18 call-ins to RTPI’s “Nature at Your Fingertips” audio cell phone tour exceeded our goal of getting at least 500 hits on the tour throughout the winter months. The amount of usage of the tour strongly correlated with when the snowmobile trails were open. Several businesses contributed to the project and a number of organizations helped spread the word across the area about the new cell phone tour as well.

WTCPT sign erection 10

While snowmobiling in this area is a huge economic driver, the community itself is benefited by it in more than just monetary ways. Snowmobilers give back to the area by taking their business to all of the local restaurants, lodges and dealers, but also join together to provide a helping hand where it is needed or show their support and interest in something new.  Going into this project, we weren’t sure what kind of response we would get and if people would really show pay that much attention to the natural history of the area, particularly sites that were nearest to the winter use trails. However, we were pleasantly surprised to see the response from people riding on the trails and taking the time to stop, listen and learn. As we have written before, there are snowmobilers out there that have an interest in nature and in the community here. They contribute their time and effort into helping various events and outreaches, and this year helped our project in a number of ways.

With that said we want to thank all the snowmobilers that showed an interest in learning about the natural history and history of our local area through our tour, all the businesses that got involved with this project and supported it: 3 Seas Recreation, The Great Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast, Webb’s Captain Table, Cottage Collection and Coffee House, Zahm and Matson, Peak n’ Peek and 360 Graphics, our partners that helped advertise the tour: GrowWNY and Chautauqua County Visitor’s Bureau, and we would like to say a big thank you to the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club for such a great season!

Winter trails cell phone tour sponsors 13-14

And now that the snowmobiling season is officially over and the cell phone tour signs will be taken down, we will begin to work on planning for next year and also be working on a new tour for the rest of the non-winter months. So stay tuned as we will be erecting signs in some of our Natural History Atlas locations with fresh, updated information, photographs and video!

Elyse Henshaw
Conservation Technician

Photo 1 © Elyse Henshaw, Photo 2 © Scott Kruitbosch