The Aberdeen Driftbusters Snowmobile Club is proud of its statewide award-winning club member Kenny Ham.
Last month, Ham was named the statewide groomer of the year at the South Dakota State Snowmobile Convention in Watertown. He helps the club groom its 146-mile Dakota Midland Snowmobile trail.
We appreciate all of the time he puts into our trail system - signing it for safe riding and grooming it during the season for excellent riding, club president Sunny Pence said in a release.
Also at the state convention, Bill Naessig of Webster will serve as a district director for Northeastern South Dakota. Kenny Ham of Aberdeen was chosen as Groomer of the Year. And on the national level, Duane Sutton of Aberdeen was elected this past June as the Midwest Chapter Chair for the American Council of Snowmobile Associations.
GFP official changes jobs
The Aberdeen Driftbusters Snowmobile Club reports in its newsletter that state GFP snowmobile trails coordinator Ryan Raynor will resign his current position after this winter's season. He will become camp manager at Farm Island Recreation Area east of Pierre.
Lots of snowmobile trails
There are more than 1,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in eastern South Dakota and more than 300 miles in the Black Hills.
Grooming can officially begin in the Black Hills on Dec. 15. One of the trails that always gets rave reviews is the 146-mile Dakota Midland Snowmobile Trail. The trail connects the communities of Aberdeen, Westport, Frederick, Richmond Lake and Mina. Aberdeen Driftbusters Snowmobile Club members have finished marking the trail.
Trail maps can be obtained from local businesses along the trail. Or to see all the trails in South Dakota, contact your local GFP office or view them at state.sd.us/sdparks.
Turn In Poachers numbers
GFP reports that 394 Turn In Poachers cases were investigated from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011.
Those investigations led to 146 arrests or citations. As a result of successful cases closed during that period, poachers were assessed more than $27,000 in fines and were sentenced to 1,730 days in jail. Offenders were also assessed almost $50,000 in civil damages.
Wildlife Protection, Inc., the nonprofit agency handling TIPS rewards, paid $8,725 to those who took the initiative to report wildlife violations.
Since the beginning of the South Dakota TIPs Program in 1984, there have been more than 10,000 investigations, leading to more than 3,000 arrests or citations. Violators have been required to pay $650,000 in fines and more than $500,000 in civil damages. During the same 28-year period, nearly $130,000 in TIPS rewards have gone to witnesses who provided information on violations.
These numbers are proof that South Dakotans are serious about protecting our natural resources, said Charlie Wharton, TIPs coordinator for GFP. As caretakers of nature, we all have a vested interest in the public trust of preserving wildlife for future generations. It's heartening to have people take an active interest in reporting violators and protecting our resources.