Sawyer County Named "Snowmobile Friendly Community"
By Joe Morey News Editor
Nine Wisconsin communities were awarded the title of “Snowmobile Friendly Community” by the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) and two of those were right here in our neighborhood. Hayward and Sawyer County both received the designation.
The AWSC announced the awards at their 50th Annual Convention in Green Bay on March 22 with over 700 attendees representing all 72 counties on hand to congratulate the winning communities.
According to the AWSC press release, “The winning communities of Algoma, Eagle River, Hayward, St. Germain, Three Lakes and Tomahawk, along with three counties, Bayfield, Iron and Sawyer achieved their Snowmobile Friendly status by submitting a detailed, 21-page application describing how they and their snowmobile clubs advocate for safe and responsible snowmobiling in their areas.”
Don Mrotek, Sawyer County’s Snowmobile/ATV Alliance Trail Coordinator, said the award wasn’t based on who has the best trails, but about promoting safe and responsible snowmobiling and being inviting to visitors to the area.
The Snowmobile Friendly Community award was a partnership between the AWSC and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, which insured there was one tourism professional on the panel so they accurately identified which communities and snowmobile clubs were “best” at welcoming, preserving, and providing snowmobile access, support, and services for snowmobilers.
LCO Tribal Governing Board member and Sawyer County Board Chairman Tweed Shuman said the LCO Tribe was proud to have added to the friendly community aspect with our trails and our casino and what we do to allow snowmobilers to feel welcome. Shuman pointed out one example as the separate snowmobile corral at the casino for parking.
“We’re trying to build rapport between the tribe and the county to help attract and promote tourism,” Shuman said. “When we succeed and we receive awards like this, everybody wins. It’s great for Hayward, Sawyer County and LCO. This helps establish our area as a recreational destination.”
Shuman said the tribal governing board wanted to thank all the tribal entities for accommodating the snowmobilers in the area, and also LCO Conservation for taking care of the trails.
Mrotek pointed out that Sawyer County has some of the highest membership in their snowmobile clubs, not only from citizens, but from businesses. Sawyer County leads the state with 109 business memberships across the seven snowmobile clubs in Sawyer County, where some counties actually have zero business memberships.
Shuman said, “This business membership is what helps make our community a snowmobile friendly community because they are welcoming to the snowmobilers, they open their doors to them and know their value to the Sawyer County/LCO community.”
Shuman recognized Chris Ruckdaschel, Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Sherry Beckman, executive director of the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau for submitting the 21-page applications. Beckman submitted on behalf of the county.
Pictured from L-R) Sawyer County Administrator Tom Hoff, TGB Member and Sawyer County Board Chairman Tweed Shuman, Sawyer County Trails Coordinator Don Mrotek and Hayward Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Ruckdaschel.