Kicking off this forum

Information from the board of the Alaska State Snowmobile Association

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kev_alaska
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Kicking off this forum

#1 Post by kev_alaska » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:00 pm

Good morning all. Earlier today I sent this message out to all the organized clubs in the state. I likely missed someone or a club that I don't have contact information for. Please forward as you see fit.

The ASSA has been working on our communication methods for a bit of time here and I wanted to send this out for comments and/or additions. We have traditionally relied on monthly teleconferences for the quite a while. While these teleconferences are extremely valuable, they necessarily conflict with a lot of our volunteer hours and schedules. That means that many times valuable information and communication is missed due to these conflicts. A perfect world would allow me to travel to each club general and board meetings to get smacked around in person, but life dictates that we volunteers have to show up at work on a regular basis. Haven’t figured out how to change that yet.

As your ASSA president, my main responsibility is to address each locality’s concerns and directions as to ongoing issues as well as future processes that we face as snowmobilers in Alaska. It is critical for me to make sure that I have obtained the best information that I can get concerning the facts of an issue as well as the intents and viewpoints of each club and location. What I would like to begin with this letter is:

1) To provide a monthly communication link between each organization and my information gathering duty.
2) Provide a method for immediate communication between each of us in regards to actions and paths forward on issues. . Items that need more frequent communication will be addressed and that information will be listed and communicated in the monthly letter as well. An example is a local action that ASSA is involved in at the request of the local club. There will likely be frequent communication between ASSA and the local organization that I will report on in total on this communication.
3) Give ASSA and the organizations better visibility of each other. Clubs that change leadership can rely on this for ongoing communication. I would encourage each club to include as many interested people as they see fit. Each organization has members who are more informed than the average member and these are the enthusiasts who can provide valuable insight into directions we should take.
4) With this communication, I will create a action list of things that we are working on, things we should be working on as well as things that we see as may having some impact on snowmobiling statewide.

Immediate things that we are working on include:

1) SnoTrac advisory board to DNR, grooming grants as well as program goals and issues. The Park service has approached ASSA and asked for our support for a fee increase. While ASSA has been supportive of an increase in the past, the performance issues with the DNR/Parks staff has been extremely disappointing in the past two years. ASSA has conditionally withdrawn formal support of an increase until the SnoTrac program is revamped with less emphasis on administrative functions and more emphasis on getting funding to the ground. Additionally we have been pushing for a full time Snowmobile coordinator within the program. Currently the DNR takes about 14% of the Point of Sale legislative funding for administration. They have requested a double (or quadrupling) of the fees from $5.00 a year to $10.00 (or $20 per year) to facilitate an expansion of the program. Our position has been for A) DNR to accept a Snowmobiler created priority list for this program or, at a minimum, install a full time Snowmobile Program coordinator who can go to all the locations and combine all the disparate programs that we have now under one office. To this point, DNR has allocated a small percentage of one staff member’s time to the SnoTrac plan. They haven’t even had a person on the ground for the last 5 years to check on grant adherence. To advocate for an increase before they make some changes seems counterintuitive at this point. Additionally, DNR has rebuffed the program suggestions concerning a statewide safety program and has continually funded (contrary to the advisory boards recommendations) small one off programs that dilute any effectiveness that could result from a coordinated effort.
2) State Parks land management plans in Hatcher Pass, this plan has been open and closed so many times in the last year that it requires a score sheet to keep track.
3) Federal studies in the Kenai Moose Range. That study was funded by UAF through a federal program and follows the line of several studies from outside that resulted in restricted access. I have done a lot of research on this one to this point, but will need a lot of local help before the plan is done.
4) Communication between the organizations and ASSA ( working on that here)
5) Inclusion of the communication and working items into the Alaska SnowRider magazine in the form of articles that supplement my normal rant and ravings.


That is a long list, but it is far from complete. I need your help and advice so we can be more effective on these efforts. Part of the issue that we face is although many of these land use and access issues are statewide, the offices for most of the land managers are here in Anchorage. In order for ASSA to be an effective advocate for your issues, I will need information and direction from every locale. I work for you in all these issues and encourage you to utilize me here to address issues that can be addressed locally in Anchorage before (during and after as well) the decisions are made that affect each of you.

Please give this information to any and all board and/or club members who you think are good resources to help us. I will add them to the distribution list. I will be recreating this distribution list on my personal computer and will be able to respond and facilitate wherever I am at the moment. You will see most of the communication coming from my personal e-mail address, kehite@gci.net.




Kevin Hite
President
Alaska State Snowmobile Association
907-360-7587
kehite@gci.net



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REVITUP
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Re: Kicking off this forum

#2 Post by REVITUP » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:16 am

Kevin,
Thanks for the info. Looks like we have alot of things going on again. We appreciate your hard work.

Jody



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john
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Re: Kicking off this forum

#3 Post by john » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:25 am

I'd like to express my appreciation to you Kevin for your willingness to expand on the communications between ASSA and the outlying clubs as it were.

I know that most of the interior folks feel ignored by ASSA, although I also know that ASSA has come to our help and assistance when needed, and maybe this is in part our own fault for not expressing those times you have helped us more widely. Steve E. has made good efforts to keep us informed on what is happening with ASSA, but hearing directly from you, as ASSA's president helps.

I'm appreciative of your comments and position on the registration fee raise(s). Again, as an Interior rider, we seem to see less of the benefits from SnoTrack than other areas and have concerns over DNR's priority of our needs. An example is a simple request I personally made for information on one the trails awarded funds from the grooming pool. It has been a couple weeks since I made my request to DNR for information and still they have not bother to reply. This lack of response enforces the feeling that we're low on the totem pole of concerns with the spending of "our" registration funds.

Please continue to provide your monthly comments to us here. It helps us better understand what hurdles your dealing with and gives us a better understanding of what ASSA is doing to help us as well as all the other local clubs in the state.



kev_alaska
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Re: Kicking off this forum

#4 Post by kev_alaska » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:37 am

Send me some information on the request you made and I will put some pressure on the folks in the tower to get back with you. There are a couple things going on within DNR that will warrant keeping an eye on. Darby is the gal tasked with coordination, so she is where I will start...

kevin



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mit
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Re: Kicking off this forum

#5 Post by mit » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:21 pm

Hummmmm This could be a good start? I'm one of the guys that has been sparing with you for years on the outdoors forum. There is a mountain range of difference between the north and the south both figuratively and actually. Cudos to Steve for representing some of my views.


Tim Berg
The Snowmachine Registration, needs to be Repealed!

kev_alaska
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Re: Kicking off this forum

#6 Post by kev_alaska » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:34 am

A good start is the hope. Seems that a lot of communication is lost from those of us below the Susitna to those above it. Too many things going on that affect all of us not to give it the best effort I can.

I appreciate the hospitality of the FST board by letting me have this forum. I anticipate getting a lot of education in a quick manner.

Kevin



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