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Snow is Christmas present enough for Mountain Lakers

—  It may be past Christmas, but there are many in the North Country who live by the lyrics, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

After a rough winter in 2011-12, you cannot blame members of the Mountain Lakers Snowmobile Club for being a little giddy after the recent storms that hit the area.

“I think the recent snow will really get snowmobilers ramped up with hopes of a good, long season,” said club President Paul Stephens.

The Mountain Lakers are one of 241 clubs that are part of the New York State Snowmobile Association, which has around 150,000 members statewide. The organization is dedicated to promoting and the expansion of snowmobiling in New York.

Stephens said that the Mountain Lakers receive funding through the state for its trail fund, which was down last year.

“With the lack of snow last year, the snowmobile registrations were down, which directly affects the amount of money that goes into the statewide trail fund and the amount that is allotted to our local club,” Stephens said. “So it is important that people register their sleds every year to help maintain the trails. I think there is a misconception that when one registers their sled, the money goes to the state.”

Stephens said that the Mountain Lakers help to maintain more than 100 miles of both funded and non-funded trails in the towns of Westport, Willsboro, Essex and Lewis, most of which are granted to the club through agreements with private property owners.

“Without the permission and cooperation of these local land owners we would have no club,” he said.

The majority of the members in the club come from the towns the club serves. The organization holds monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month, with the January meeting scheduled to take place at the Westport Hotel at 7 p.m. Jan. 3. The meetings alternate between the Westport Hotel and Johnny’s Restaurant in Willsboro.

“If someone is interested in becoming involved in our club, they can attend our meetings,” Stephens said. “You can also become a member online and learn more about snowmobiling at nysnowmobiler.com.”

Stephens said that the club usually holds its annual party in February, weather depending, and is looking to add events throughout the winter months.

“We are trying to get some other functions started as well,” Stephens said. “If anyone has any ideas or would like to contribute, please attend a meeting. We are always looking for volunteers for everything from trail maintenance to organizing events.”

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