Cabin Association covering insurance for groomer
By Anna Jauhola
Last week, Lake Bronson State Park received news it had been anxiously awaiting since December. A local entity stepped up and will cover the insurance needed to use the park’s trail groomer.
The Lake Bronson Cabin Association began investigating the possibility of adding the groomer to its dock insurance policy after the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota dropped the liability insurance. The council had carried insurance for the park’s groomer since 2016 when the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources eliminated state-funded grooming within the park.
Now the Cabin Association has successfully tacked on $1 million of insurance to its private dock insurance policy to cover the groomer, said Diane Peterson, Lake Bronson State Park office manager.
“The volunteer may not groom all the trails this year because the snow is so deep on unbroken trails,” Peterson said. “But he could do more.”
A local volunteer has used his own vehicle to pull the groomer over the last three years, but without insurance, he was unable to do so thus far this winter, Peterson said.
Roger Green, a member of the Lake Bronson Cabin Association, is one who worked to get the policy. He said it kind of faltered in mid-process and he involved Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, who helped get the policy completed and in-hand of park officials by Monday, Jan. 27.
This good news includes the resurgence of the Candlelight Ski event, which had been canceled. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The ski will start at the Visitor Center in the park and a potluck dinner will be available, provided by Lake Bronson Friends of the Park.
There was much discontent among those who use groomed ski trails at Lake Bronson State Park. Peterson said when the news broke about the trails not being groomed, they heard from a lot of people on when and if they might be groomed. That chatter had died down over the last few weeks, but the lack of groomed trails hasn’t stopped regulars from forging their own.
“It’s awesome they’ll be groomed,” said Cindy Lofberg, Hallock. “But that wouldn’t keep me from going there.”
Lofberg and several of her friends are regular cross-country skiers at the park and have taken initiative this year to break their own trails. She said the ungroomed trails weren’t ideal because the snow has gotten so deep.
“But once you go over it a couple of times, then you get a good trail going,” she said.
This year, she and her group weren’t as upset about no grooming as they were in 2016, when they wrote letters to state representatives. Lofberg, who has been skiing for 35 years, said the park is owned by the people and for the state to take away an amenity enjoyed by so many was a shame.
“It’s just a beautiful thing to have up here where we don’t have a lot of skiing,” she said, noting that the next closest state park is Icelandic State Park by Cavalier, N.D. “We should be able to enjoy skiing in our own state.”
Lofberg said she has also skied on groomed trails at the Two River Golf Course in Hallock and at the Lancaster City Park. However, she very much prefers the trails at Lake Bronson.
“It’s more relaxing, you’re not worried about sliding out of the tracks and it’s beautiful to go out there. A lot of it is sheltered so if it’s windy you can go in the woods and really enjoyable,” she said. “And there’s a bathroom facility at the start of the trail. It just means the world to get outside in the winter and enjoy what we have.”