Greetings Eagle Cliff Ski Association Members and Trail Enthusiasts!
As we celebrate the conclusion of a fabulous ski season the board members of the Eagle Cliff Ski Association (ECSA) have several items to share with you.
As you read through this newsletter containing highlights, grant activities, and plans for next season, please note the significant expense we face to replace the 20-year-old snowmobile and equipment used to groom Eagle Cliff ski trails. The old equipment served us well, but finally failed at the end of the season. New equipment is necessary if grooming operations are to continue at Eagle Cliff, and your financial support is needed as we face the challenge of purchasing a new snowmobile.
Highlights of the Season
Introduction to Cross-Country Skiing - this class was offered in October 2022 in partnership with SD Game, Fish and Parks. Two subsequent, on-site Beginners Day events were held with ECSA members instructing more than 30 participants.
Adventure Skis - ECSA sponsored two of these ECSA member-guided events, one in association with Lead’s Winterfest, with over 30 participants.
Grant Award and Application Submission
South Dakota Good and Healthy Grant - ECSA was awarded this $1,910 grant through Live Well Black Hills to improve the ECSA “You Are Here” wayfinding project. Grant funds will assist with costs for additional and replacement signs as well as costs for Beginners Day events planned for the 2023-2024 season. We look forward to greatly improved signage across the entire Eagle Cliff trail system in the coming months!
Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grant Submission - ECSA has applied for a grant to fund replacement of a 20-year-old snowmobile and grooming equipment.
Federal funds for equipment purchased with this grant stipulate that the equipment be manufactured in the United States, however no US manufacturers build the type of snowmobile required for ECSA grooming conditions. We are stymied...but not deterred...by this stipulation limiting us from potential RTP funding to cover the cost of a new snowmobile.
As for RTP grant funding to replace grooming equipment, there is a chance we could receive an award of $6,904 (80% of the requested amount of $8,630 needed to purchase grooming equipment). Competition is intense for RTP grant funding, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for a positive outcome of potential funding. We will know more when grant award decisions are made in June or July. In the event that we are successful grant recipients, ECSA will be responsible for matching 20% ($1,726) of the requested amount ($8,630).
How Can You Help?
We are initiating a fundraising campaign to assist with the following efforts, and we need your help:
ECSA must cover 20% matching funds for the SD Good and Healthy grant ($382) and for the potential RTP grant ($1,796) for grooming equipment.
The expense of a Canadian-made, replacement snowmobile for grooming requires ECSA to raise $18,000 by November 1, 2023.
Please consider how you can support this effort and/or Donate Now.
Plans in Place for 2023-2024 Season Events
Annual Meeting: September 9, 2023 – mark your calendars for the annual meeting and stay tuned for further developments on other fund-raising events.
Trail Maintenance Day: September 23, 2023 – Volunteers are needed to assist with the “You Are Here” signage project. Please watch for more information on this work day (and potentially additional work days as needs evolve).
Introduction to Cross-Country Ski Class: October 25, 2024
Beginners Day Events: January 6, 2024 and February 3, 2024
Adventure Ski – will be planned when snow conditions are optimal, and details will be communicated via Facebook.
Thank you for your membership and support!
The ECSA board is diligently working to fulfill ECSA's mission to promote the recreational use of the Eagle Cliff Trails. The coming year will be challenging, but with our devoted members we know that we can accomplish our goals. We will be sharing more details as plans solidify.
Sherry Bea Smith, ECSA President and ECSA Board of Directors