As a snowmobiler, you can experience riding the vast winter snow-covered landscapes throughout the country. But did you know about the national organization that represents you and helps ensure your right to ride? It’s time to learn about the American Council of Snowmobile Associations and the role you can play in its accomplishments.
Interviewed is Christine Jourdain, the longtime Executive Director of ACSA.
What is the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA)?
CHRISTINE JOURDAIN: “ACSA is a national organization that unites the snowmobile community, providing a voice for snowmobilers on national issues. Our mission is to promote snowmobiling as a safe, fun and environmentally friendly family sport. Our message is that there are all kinds of people involved in snowmobiling, from the factory worker to the teacher to the doctor, and it is a fabulous winter recreation activityfor families, utilizing the hundreds of thousands of trails and designated play areas across the Snowbelt.”
What does ACSA do to protect snowmobiling?
JOURDAIN: “We are the liaison between snowmobilers and the U.S. Forest Service, Park Service, Federal Highways, Homeland Security, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and all other federal agencies that have an impact on snowmobiling. We constantly monitor current and proposed regulations for anything that might impact your ability to snowmobile, specifically related to safety, access and environmental issues. We’ve done an annual fly-in to Washington, D.C., for the past 18 years so lawmakers and decision makers at the agencies know who snowmobilers are and who to call when there is an issue that may affect snowmobiling.”
How is ACSA involved with other groups?
JOURDAIN: “We work with many organizations including motorized groups like the motorcycle or RV industry, and non-motorized people like hikers, bikers and equestrians. It’s important to have partners we can work with when mutual threats arise. We’re also very involved with state snowmobile organizations and groups like Tread Lightly that promote responsible recreation.” As an individual, why should I join ACSA? How is it different than joining a snowmobile club?
JOURDAIN: “Snowmobiling has many challenges. Many are local – dealing with threats to trail systems related to individual land owners, or funding for grooming, for example. For that, club and state membership is vital. ACSA is your voice for snowmobiling on national issues. Part of our mission is to maintain riding access to the National Forest, Park Service and BLM lands and to make sure no laws or rules are passed that take away your privilege to ride in your favorite areas. National forests, for example, are very important to snowmobiling across the country – in the West, obviously, but there are also huge national forests
used for riding in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine and other places throughout the country. We work with the National Forest Service to make sure that snowmobilers are a part of the picture going forward, both for access and funding. Oftentimes trails can be there but if no money is allocated to maintain, groom and sign those trails, those trails are no longer available.”
Name a recent example on which ACSA has worked to have a positive impact for snowmobilers.
JOURDAIN: “Snowmobilers are instrumental in developing and maintaining snowmobile trails on public and private land. To help, ACSA developed the snowmobileinfo.org website specifically to host and share lots of materials for clubs, associations and trail managers to assist with those efforts. The site includes landowner information and best practices for trail grooming and maintenance. Another major area of the website includes reports and links pertaining to the impact of snowmobiles, ATVs and other OHVs on the environment. It has all kinds of safety and access resources available, from posters and scientific studies to a calendar of safety education classes across the country. It is a truly great resource”
How can individuals and/or snowmobile clubs become more involved or become members of ACSA?
JOURDAIN: “A club or individual can easily join ACSA right on our website – snowmobilers.org. It’s a very low fee – just $15 annually for individuals and $25 for clubs. One of the most important parts is connecting – when important issues arise, you’ll be informed via email so you can contact the decision makers and help protect snowmobiling.”