Snowmobile club gets trails in shape for Wilderness Sled Dog Race
GREENVILLE — Several weeks before the 2023 Wilderness Sled Dog Race, trail conditions were in poor shape and organizers worried the event would need to be canceled. The Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club stepped up and got the course ready for the mushers and their canine teams.
Bob Ludwig of the race committee emailed Greenville Town Manager Mike Roy to thank the club for its efforts, and asked that the message be read aloud at a select board meeting to be officially entered into the record.
Select Chairperson Geno Murray read Ludwig’s email during a Feb. 15 meeting, “I believe a degree of praise and recognition is in order for the deeds of Jon Gray as president of the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club and his team of groomers.”
The Wilderness Sled Dog Race is typically held the first Saturday of February and it brings hundreds of spectators and participants from across New England and eastern Canada. “Most of the businesses and many residents have made significant contributions of time, merchandise, cash and many hours as volunteers to make this event a success,” Ludwig wrote. “It’s a big deal in Greenville.”
“Two weeks before the event our course was in shambles,” with wet spots, ice, and downed trees. At first the weather was too warm and then too cold for “course repairs beyond the ability of race committee volunteers.”
Cancellation was a possibility but Gray said, “‘Don’t worry, somehow we’ll deliver the conditions you need for the race’ and sure enough after many hours day and night the groomers delivered an absolutely great 35 miles of established track from Leisure Life Village out and back. A remarkable transformation, mushers and volunteers involved were excited at the great track conditions and vowed to return and bring other members of their racing clubs next year. We’re on the map and word has spread that Greenville is a first-rate destination for the Wilderness Sled Dog Race.”
Murray read Roy’s responding email aloud, “The guys who operate the groomers are never recognized for their under-the-radar work. A shoutout goes to you as well for your work for all you do for sled dogs and the snowmobile and ATV clubs.”
Extreme cold pushed the event back from Saturday, Feb. 4, to Sunday, Feb. 5. Fifteen teams took part in the 35-mile race. The 70-mile competition was canceled due to only having a pair of dog sleds entered.
“During that cold spell all municipal buildings fared well, no burst pipes, unlike other buildings in town,” Roy said about the weather that pushed the Wilderness Sled Dog Race back a day for more favorable temperatures.
In other business, speaking on the public safety building project, Roy said, “The process continues, we are getting very close to bringing a proposal to you all for an approval and to move forward and to get a contract signed. So more information to come on that.”
The Greenville Public Safety Building will house the fire and police departments to help with current outdated spaces and building code violations. It will be built at the site of the fire station on Minden Street across from the town office.
The project recently received a $902,000 boost as part of federal appropriations bills.
Residents approved up to $5,150,000 in bonds at the annual town meeting in June to finance surveys, demolition, construction and related expenditures for the structure. The bond is expected to be issued in May, with plans to repay it over the course of 15 years, according to the warrant article.
Roy said a new building to be located on the Greenville Consolidated School campus is in the early development stages.
“We have a committee and we have had two meetings and we’re working to come up with a name of the building,” he said. “It’s not a childcare building. It’s not a pre-K building. It’s not a rec building. It’s a combination of all.”
The town manager asked the board to be thinking about potential names. “I’m not going to go exercise at the multipurpose building,” Roy said.
Earlier this year $1.5 million in federal funding was secured for the project with the passage of the 2023 omnibus spending bill. The facility will house a childcare center, pre-K classrooms and a community recreation center.
“I have only received three budget committee applications thus far,” Roy said. “I know we wanted four to five but right now we just have three.”
The board approved the applications with the caveat another resident or two could be appointed to the budget committee if they come forward. The committee is scheduled to start meeting on March 8.
Roy said select board nomination papers will be available as of March 3 and are due back on April 14. Both Murray and Selectperson Richard Peat have expiring terms.