|A Brief History of the Presque Isle Snowmobile Club|
The Presque Isle Snowmobile Club was started in 1968 by a small group of enthusiastic snowmobile riders. This group was concerned about the reputation of the sport, in light of some undesirable riding behavior practices by riders during the rapid growth of snowmobiling. This dedicated group had a desire to promote the positive aspects of snowmobiling and to improve the recreational aspect of the activity. They soon realized that a more organized, maintained, and connected trail system was needed in order to realize the recreational potential of snowmobiling and to develop good relations with the land owners and the general public about this growing wintertime activity.
The Club set out to contact neighboring clubs or groups of snowmobilers to map out existing trails and to plan new trails and connecting routes. Land owners were contacted and permission obtained to use field roads, woods roads, and fields. Eventually, old tote roads were brushed out and new trails cut through the woods to connect with existing trails and a trail “system” began to take place. Trails were connected from town to town and groups of people found themselves working together to further improve on a great activity.
One of the big challenges was maintaining the trails so that they were comfortable to ride on and save for all participants. Early trails were groomed by hand and improvised equipment such as bed spring springs, old modified farm equipment and rectangular metal boxes called “skip drags”. The goal was to smooth out the trail. That led to summer work being done to improve the trails as well.
Another early goal of the Club was to improve opportunities for social events and activities of its members and friends. Group rides, suppers, dances, and overnight trips became routine social activities that enhanced the sport of snowmobiling for a member of a club. Many of these activities were used as fundraisers to support the growing expense of trail maintenance and Club activities.
The Maine Snowmobile Association was created to help coordinate the growth of clubs and snowmobiling statewide. The Maine Legislature got involved by creating safety and funding laws and supporting clubs in their efforts to improve what was becoming a growing recreational industry for the State of Maine.
Once the Club was established with an extensive trail system and loyal members, the Club took on and accomplished one of its long range goals: the construction of a clubhouse for the Presque Isle Snowmobile Club. A substantial part of the clubhouse was made possible by volunteer labor and donations of money and supplies. Businesses and individuals were recognized for their donations with gold plaques. Through the cooperation of all these people, this feat was accomplished in the fall of 1985. Sadly, in January of 2009, the beautiful original clubhouse was demolished in a fire. Not to be discouraged, the PISC, Presque Isle Rotary, and many community members rallied to erect a second clubhouse, completed only one year after the fire. Located at the State Park on Mountain Road and on ITS 83, the major north-south trail, the new and improved clubhouse is similar to the original log cabin-style building.
The Presque Isle Snowmobile Club has won many awards from the MSA over the years as the largest club. We are not the largest today, but we are still very active with over 150 individual and family members and over 45 business members. We continue to have Friday Night Stews, Club Rides, and an annual overnight trip, which began in 1976 and is a highlight of the winter season. We continue to support the Opportunity Training Center by providing OTC Fun Day in the Spring. By partnering with the Aroostook Shrine Club, the Spragueville Extension, and McDonald’s Restaurant, The Presque Isle Snowmobile Club gives snowmboile rides, lunch, and a good time to the students of Opportunity Training Center. This event brings joy to all involved. You are cordially invited to become a member of the Presque Isle Snowmobile Club!