Wisconsin Nordic Network board of directors agreed to support the
coalition forming to oppose the expansion of ATV use on public lands
in Wisconsin. This coalition, as yet unnamed, formed as a direct response to ATV-related environmental damage and vandalism in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
One of our board members will attend meetings as our
representative. As a result, I feel I should publish our position as
it stands now and some explanation of why we decided to take this
There is nothing inherently wrong with ATV use, and
there is nothing about ATV use that automatically means that skiers
should oppose it. There are certainly some among us who oppose ATV’s
just because they are gas guzzling power toys. There are some who
don’t have strong feelings about ATV’s at all. There are some who own
ATV’s. That’s a realistic cross section of the skier community.
is easy to say though that skiers have no interest in sharing ski
trails with ATV users, even if the ATV use is stopped in the winter.
The vehicles are just too damaging to the trails, a problem made much
worse in these low snow years where we try to make the best of six
inches of snow way too often. It’s also safe to say that skiers don’t
want to hear ATV’s while they ski, and that they don’t want to smell
the fumes of ATV’s. We’ve already been through that with snowmobiles,
and we don’t want to go through it again. Fortunately, with
snowmobiles we are in a different place. We have settled into a
fairly peaceful coexistence with snowmobiles. Trails are separate and
seldom meet. Seldom does a snowmobile go on an adrenaline laced
rampage over an off limits ski trail. The bar fights are over. But it
wasn’t always that way, and our view is that the ATV community is
much more like the snowmobile community of old, than the snowmobile
community of today. The snowmobile community has grown up. The ATV
community– that’s questionable.
It seems to us that right now the
ATV community is still finding its way in the world. On one side, you
have groups of riders who want expanded trail use. They want to go
fast and they want to have point to point trail rides. They want what many of them
used to do on snowmobiles, but because of the global warming and
climate change that’s officially not happening here, are no longer able to do:
go on long trail rides. ATV use on trails demands lots of maintenance
work because the vehicles are pretty hard on the terrain. Snowmobiles
travel on frozen ground, and by spring an awful large amount of the
damage done is gone. As a result snowmobiles have gotten trail access
to lots of private land. Private landowners want nothing to do with
ATV riders and this puts the pressure on public land stewards to
accept ATV use, and in our view puts pressure to accept too much ATV use
on our public lands.
The ball continues to roll on the reduction of funding for our state trails. You can keep yourself up to date on the issues by coming to our web site at http://www.xcskiwinn.org where the latest information will always be available.
There is some good news on the budget front already.
At the Wisconsin High School Coaches meeting last fall in Iola, in talking to coaches, we got the message that the most valuable thing WINN could do for them was to help promote the organization. I think we could accomplish this goal pretty easily, through a combination of web site presence, blogs and mention in newsletters. I think this is a task we should do and just need some volunteers to help pull the information together to get it done.
WINN Annual Meeting/Teleconference
12/7/2003 – 7:30 PM
1. Reading of Minutes from last annual meeting
2. Financial Report
- Web Site, Blog Site
- Trails Council
- Conditions report system
4.Other Old Business
5. New Initiatives
- High School Award – Phil Johnsrud
- Promote High School coaches league
- Start workgroup to study rollerskiing safety and road issues
- Start workgroup to study “Active Lifestyle“ and the anti-obesity role of skiing
- Coaches clinic(s)
6. Membership drive and fund raising
- Promote WINN at events – brochures
- Advertise in magazines and SkinnySki
- talk it up at club meetings
- Blogs for Skiers
- Sale of Perfect Skating CD
- EBay opportunties for non profit organizations
7. Election of Directors/Officers
Each year, I hear about roller skiers having “issues” with cars on the road. This year, a driver threatened to contact the authorities saying that roller skiing wasn’t allowed on the roads. Nothing happened and so far this has been a bit of non issue. Roller bladers had more issues and eventually got some laws on the books about 10 years ago.
I have had some conversations with Joe King in Madison who has studied the laws a bit. The Canadians are beginning to think about this as well. see http://canada.x-c.com/main.asp?cmd=doc&ID=1804&lan=0
We should put together a work group to study options. I would like to see one of a few options chosen.
1 – do nothing
2 – ammend the law to give skiers the same rights as inline skates
3 – ammend the law to define roller skiing in it’s own right
Additionally, a “code of conduct” should come out of this group to keep conflicts between drivers and rollerskiers at a minimum, much like bicycles have now.
Phil Johnsrud’s idea is to have coaches nominate junior skiers to participate in the Korte. Simple idea, just need to figure out how to pull it off and how many skiers we could do this for. We should try to get the Birkie Board to contribute as well so we don’t have to fund this entirely ourselves. Phil’s other ideas included presenting a nice certificate for the skier who wins, signed by the team, the Birkie Board and by WINN. A pin for a letter jacket might be a nice addition. One benefit is that this could give the nordic coach a reason to be part of the schools awards banquet.
There are approximately 20 teams in the state so we would have to come up with our part of 20 entry fees and coordinate the prizes.
After a conversation with Jeffrey McManus from Ebay at a recent Microsoft conference, we should look into the idea of setting up a non profit auction site for used ski gear. Ebay has affiliate programs already where affiliates get a small extra slice of the proceeds of the sale, but Jeff told me to pursue a non profit version instead. I will follow up on details. This would somewhat reduce the problem of getting donations to young skiers when, for reasons not fully understood, skiers hang on to old gear until it’s completely useless. If the “donater” thought they were getting some of the proceeds themselves, and that some would go to a good skier cause, maybe they would more inclined to go ahead and do so. The best news would be that once it was setup, we wouldn’t have to do much because Ebay would be handling the transactions and the sellers would be handling shipping.
We have missed the input and energy of other nordic skiers. We should actively pursue one or two board members who are connected to back country skiing and to telemark skiing. The purpose is twofold. First, we should do what we can to share our voice on issues these skiers may have with trails, land use, hunting and other things on the political front. Secondly, we may be missing an energetic source of activity that helps give us momentum. Both backcountry and tele skiers are are at least as fanatical as trail skiers, but to the best of my knowledge, are complete unrepresented as a group.
I have approached Brian Murphy, Madison about this. Brian is formerly of Life Tools here in Green Bay and is closely tied with the annual TeleFest in the Porkies. He is thinking it over.
USSA has been working for the last few years on trying to develop a basic set of terms, techniques and explanations that should be the basis and common vocabulary across all coaches that could be a feeder to national programs. We should do what we can in all of our activities to try to aid that goal. It’s equally important to keep WINN out of the coaching business itself. By that I mean that coaching, the handling of coaching programs and the specific agenda is not something I see WINN trying to influence. This should be handled by the existing coaching organizations and clubs. What we should be doing on this is to promote, both with grants such as the funding of the coach at the state high school coaches meeting, and with articles and other buzz, what exactly the goals are and why they are important.
I’m sure have all noticed that coaches have fairly strong opinions about how things should be done. If the USSA and CXC are challenged by the effort to convince existing coaches of the merits of the USSA program, we will not do any better. We need to remain optimistic about the goals themselves, and just keep helping to get the word out.
Steps to accomplish this goal.
- identify documents that spell out just what the USSA is trying to do
- keep abreast of coaching events and opportunities where this message can get out and get it there
- help sponsor clinics consistent with these goals
- promote our involvement with this goal so coaches and skiers understand what we are doing and who we are and how we can help