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Giving Tuesday Non-Profit Spotlight: Keweenaw Snowmobile Club

Snowmobiling brings plenty of visitors to the Keweenaw Peninsula. Helping support the region’s all-season tourism economy and outdoor recreation options for residents. Maintaining the 200-plus miles of trails in the Keweenaw Peninsula includes the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club. The club’s trail groomers travel from north of Tapiola, all the way north to Copper Harbor, and operate out of Mohawk. This year the snowmobile club will join Giving Tuesday for the first time and plans to put funds toward moving their facilities closer to main trail junctions.

“So all of the funds raised this year are going to go toward supporting our new groomer maintenance facility in Calumet, behind the AmericInn. So it’s where we store and maintain all of our equipment. We’ve got a small shop up in Mohawk that we operate out of today. This new facility puts us a little closer to resources such as parts and quicker shipments from FedEx and UPS. And then put us directly on the trail system.” – Ryan LaPorte, President, Keweenaw Snowmobile Club

The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club hopes that a move to Calumet will make it easier to support the club long-term. The club relies on a force of volunteers to maintain trails in the winter. And a strong relationship with the Keweenaw ATV club to work on major repair projects in the summer. Keweenaw Snowmobile Club president Ryan LaPorte says it’s also important for the club to continue to build its relationship with partners such as Copper Shores, who recognize that trail systems in the upper peninsula support strong and healthy communities.

“Getting outside, our local volunteers getting out doing maintenance on the trail system to make sure it’s prepared. Removing brush, and cutting trees down that are low hanging or could create a dangerous obstacle for a rider or trail groomer. It allows people to get out and get some exercise. And then riding is a physical activity. A lot of people will say well you’re riding a snowmobile. If you’re riding you’ll work up a sweat. It’s a good way to get out, get your heart racing, and see the countryside. We provide a trail network into some remote areas where a lot of people like to visit. Off-trail riding is one of the drivers for people coming to the region. And we work out there to provide a safe way for our local first responders to access those remote areas. So I think that’s where we drive safety and health for the community.” – Ryan LaPorte, President, Keweenaw Snowmobile Club

Giving Tuesday with the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation last year raised over 650,000 dollars from individuals in the community and from friends of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Annually the foundation has provided a match sum to add to the day of giving’s total. Adding up to over 2.7 million dollars spread throughout the copper country over the past six years. Find more information about Giving Tuesday with the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation here and more about the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club here.

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