Snowmobile Club Honours Founding Members

Snowmobile Club Honours Founding Members

The St. Joseph Island Voyageurs Snowmobile Club honoured the remaining founding members at a dinner and fundraiser Saturday night.

Ladies who were always active in the Island club were asked to cut the cake. Judy Wells (L), Mavis Chisholm (C) and Joyce Leask (R).
Ladies who were always active in the Island club were asked to cut the cake. Judy Wells (L), Mavis Chisholm (C) and Joyce Leask (R).

The Voyageurs Snowmobile Club was founded in 1974 by 15 local men who enjoyed the sport and wanted to see a network of trails developed on the Island, as was happening in many other parts of Algoma and across Ontario.

Pictured above are "Dutch" Falbert Hoogsteen (L), Ron Kent (C) and "Bill" Barney Wells (R) missing Doug Cain. Other founding members who have since passed include: Chester Wallace, Keith Armstrong, Louis Adcock, Kenneth Stevens, Merle Reed, Arnold MacKay, John Irwin, Suellyne Irwin, Raymond Gibbs, Ralph Nelson, and Robert Holmes. The club invited a relative of each founding member to attend the dinner in their honour. A plaque was made by the club for the original Board of Directors and 15 Original Club Members, which will be installed at the clubhouse.

Members of the Sault Trailblazers, Bruce Mines Sno Glyders and Drummond Island Snowmobile Council were in attendance Saturday night. Snowmobilers crossed the ice from Drummond Island to St. Joseph Island on the treeline and took the trails to the dinner held at the Legion in Richards Landing. The two Island clubs and their members have a long history and supportive relationship, working together to put up a treeline between the two islands in most years when the ice crossing is safe. Denny Bailey of Drummond Island presented the Voyageurs with a generous donated of $500 at the event.

Voyageurs President Greg Gilbertson presents plaques to founding directors.
Voyageurs President Greg Gilbertson presents plaques to founding directors.

Voyageur's President, Greg Gilbertson, also accepted a $100 donation from the RC Legion Branch 374 on St. Joseph Island.

The snowmobile club, like many local organizations, struggles to get enough volunteers to do the work necessary to maintain their association. This has been an exceptionally difficult year for snowmobile clubs in our area hit with ice storms causing severe damage to trails, due to fallen trees and branches.

The Island club is grateful for all the help they've received from their volunteer base and is hoping to continue to recruit new, younger, members to revitalize the club and ensure it can continue to maintain and groom trails as part of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs.

*Editors Note: We received a message from the SJI Voyageurs after the event stating that "A mistake was made by Tom Desjardin M.C. for the ceremony, who accidentally overlooked calling Charles Nelson to the stage to help accept the award in honour of his brother Ralph."

Snowmobile Club Honours Founding Members