The majority of the program's money goes to our trail system. By Wisconsin State Law, we have a priority system outlining how money is spent on our trail program.
All trails that are accepted in the funded program can receive up to $250 per mile per year to be used to maintain them. Payments are only made on actual expenses, so on a "no snow year", the $250 of expenses may not be incurred. Expenses in this category include everything it takes to set up the trail, grooming, and taking out the trail in the spring. (Example: Labor, signs, brushing, marking, any soil preparation such as bulldozing, cultimulching, disking, etc., bridge repairs, and gates.) Also, other expenses include short-term (annual) acquisition ($.10 rod = $32 per mile), where paid. Groomers are paid by the hour according to the class (size) it fits into. Rates per hour on labor and equipment are published annually by the DNR.
To get a funded trail in our State Funded Program, you have to work with your County (coordinator) to establish this trail. Then the County has to apply for funding from the DNR. No snowmobile organization can receive a grant for funded trails – only the County.
The snowmobile program will give a club free signs for any snowmobile trail that is not in the funded program, as long as the trail is open to the public.
If you have to repair or rebuild any bridges on any funded trail, it is paid for out of this category. You can include minor bridge repair in Trail Maintenance.
A village, city, or town may establish an ordinance that allows a snowmobile to be operated on a public road. This is called a snowmobile route. The city, village, or town can receive a one-time payment for the original snowmobile route (green) signs out of this category.
All major enhancements to an existing trail to make it safer or better can be paid for out of this category.
If there is money left over from the first five Priorities, it ends up here. Basically, there are four components to Development:
This is in a separate category from the rest of the trail program. When a County has exceeded the $250 per mile allowed in trail maintenance and spends a minimum of $130 per mile in grooming costs, it can apply for more funding under this program.
The funding for this program comes directly from our 40% tourism factor (50 gallons x Wisconsin State gas tax x 40% x number of registered snowmobiles in Wisconsin by the last day of February each year). In extremely good snow years in high-use areas, this usually ends up being pro-rated and the club will not be reimbursed for 100% of its expenses. In this case, the DNR may choose to transfer more funds into this program from other portions of our trail aids through a legislative process.
NOTE: The DNR regulates our trails program with assistance and advice form the Wisconsin Snowmobile Recreation Advisory Council.