By Alice Ehlinger

The Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club was formed in August, 1967. Thirteen people met and expressed the idea of forming a club to bring together the people of this "new sport” of snowmobiling in Oregon. Another meeting was held in September at which time officers were elected and by-laws were drawn up. The first officers of the Club were Bill Wagner, President; Bill Hoover, Vice-President and Alice Ehlinger, Secretary-Treasurer. Articles of Incorporation were filled out, presented to the State of Oregon and approved in December, 1967. We became affiliated with Western Snowmobile Association which included clubs from the seven western states. Several years later, Western Snowmobile Association was disbanded as each state formed their own associations.

In January, 1968, the Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club co-sponsored a dog-sled and snowmobile race at Sisters, Oregon. The dog-sled races were held on Saturday. Snowmobile races which included cross-country and oval races sanctioned by Western Snowmobile Association were held on Sunday in almost blizzard conditions.

Also in January, several members met with photographers and a journalist at Trillium Lake to photograph an advertising lay-out for West Coast Airlines publicizing attractions in the Pacific Northwest.

The Forest Service also requested several members of the Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club to meet with them to have action photos taken for publicizing the sport of snowmobiling. Some of these were printed in the Field & Stream Snowmobile & Buyers Guide, 1972 edition. Other of these pictures were used in brochures and maps designating the snowmobile use areas in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

In the fall of 1972, Club members were called out by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s department to look for wood-cutters and other people stranded in the Ripplebrook Forest area due to an unexpected early snow storm. Although the members search for 24 hours, not all those missing were found.Snowmobilers were thanked for their efforts and released to go home. After this, it was decided to form a search and rescue organization that would be prepared and ready to respond in a short time. John Riggs was instrumental in arranging the search and rescue teams and setting up the arrangements for the members to receive courses in First Aid.Since there wasn’t any call upon this service during the next few years, most of the activity was dropped until July, 1982 when it was activated again. Rescue sleds and First-Aid supplies were made available at the Skyline Sno-Park Shelter for anyone needing attention. Members have been called upon to use their skills and resources in various areas in Oregon since they became activated.

We have been instrumental in setting up several shelters in the snowmobile areas of Mt. Hood. A 40 foot semi-trailer was purchased in 1972. This was stripped inside and then insulated and new plywood was put on the walls and ceiling. Three windows and a side door were also added. New one inch tongue and groove flooring was laid and covered with linoleum.A small wood stove was added for heat.This was placed in an area approximately ten miles from the snowmobile parking areas. Two other small cabins were leased in 1973 from the Forest Service at approximately ten mile intervals to help anyone who might be stranded because of bad weather or breakdowns. In 1980, the Forest Service granted us permission to construct a 20 ft. by 30 ft. log cabin at Skyline Sno-Park parking area. The trailer was sold and proceeds were used in the construction of the log cabin shelter. In later years, we constructed a cabin in the Warm Springs area to replace the Forest Service cabin that had burned down. We also donated our time and materials for this project. Both shelters were for use by all winter recreationalists.

In the fall of 1972, four members of our Club journeyed to Bend, Oregon to meet with snowmobilers from other areas in Oregon to form a state snowmobile association. In time, this became the Oregon State Snowmobile Association with Ken Havernick, President. The State was divided into different areas with a representative in each area to bring their ideas and problems before the State Association. Our first representative was Ron LaVine. In 1978, Clinton Peterson from the Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club was elected President with his wife, Nancy being elected secretary.

During the summer of l973, work was begun on a bridge to cross a small creek and ravine at Lost Creek Handicap Park. Materials were supplied by the Forest Service and labor was supplied by our members.We spent eight weekends in completing the bridge. The foundations were dug, concrete poured and then the rest of the bridge was erected.The arches were prefabbed in the Forest Service Shops. The last weekend of putting it together was accomplished in a pouring down rain. The framework and arches were erected, decking was laid and handrails were added to complete the job. The Club was given an award during opening ceremonies for the time and effort involved in making the bridge possible. Without the bridge, the trail for the blind and handicapped wouldn’t have been connected to the parking area. Several years later, members returned to the same area to install gabions filled with rocks to try to keep the creek from wash away part of the trail and to form a fishing pond.

Beginning in 1974, an all you can eat pancake and ham breakfast was cooked in the parking lot of Frog Lake Sno-Park which lead to an annual event. This event was included in the Cancer Marathon sponsored by Oregon State Snowmobile Association. The location was changed to the Skyline Shelter but the same delicious food was served.Several thousands of dollars were collected from the pancake and ham breakfast and ham sandwiches served after breakfast to late afternoon. This escalated into a talent show and auction where all the proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society. Since 1984, the proceeds have gone to the Candlelighters for Children. Due to our participation with the Candlelighters, the Oregon State Snowmobile Association has also designated funds to the Candlelighters.

In addition, since 1984 a fun day in the snow has been given the Candlelighters where Mt. Hood Club snowmobilers donate their snowmobiles for rides for everyone present. Lunch and other goodies are furnished all day along with a visit from Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl.

The Mt. Hood Snowmobile has also done other projects for the Forest Service including constructing and paving a trail into Little Crater Lake. The materials were donated by Portland Road and Paving. Some of the materials were used for improvement at the nearby campground. A trail was constructed and paved to a fishing dock at Timonthy Lake for the use of people with disabilities. Another project was a fishing dock at the confluence of the Collawash and Clackamas Rivers in the Ripplebrook Forest Area.

The Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club has strived to maintain a good working relationship with the Nordic Cross-Country Ski Club and the Cascade Dogsled Club to show that we can all use, share and enjoy the snow.