January 2016

I’m Back …

For those who do not know me, my name is Rick Brown. I’ve been involved with MSA since the late 1980s, and a lifetime member since 1991.

I was Tom Meyers’ vice president, then served as your MSA president in 2004 and 2005. I have remained active in MSA and organized snowmobiling. After serving as president, I was an MSA director and have served on the MSA Executive Committee.

So how is it that I’m back as your MSA president again in 2016? After Al Green’s unfortunate passing, it was felt MSA needed someone with experience to fill in as vice president and step up to president when Ron Corbett’s term was up. Your MSA board felt that this experienced person could serve and mentor the next vice president, as that person had time to learn the ins and outs of your MSA.

Jeff Goss has stepped up and was elected to the vice president position, and I look forward to working with  him and leading MSA into the future.

Less Income and Declining Membership

It will be a challenge for MSA to survive during the next few years. Some problems, as I see it are: declining membership,  less income, and more expenses. The cost of everything keeps increasing.

Our active members’ age is also going up. We are finding it harder to get younger people involved in MSA. I know they are riding. I see them on the trails every time I ride. We need to develop programs that suit them, are fun, and make them want to get involved . The future of MSA and snowmobiling depend on those younger riders and their greater involvement.

It seems like we lose more snowmobile trails each year than we add. Our permanent trails program ,which is funded by $8 of each snowmobile registration should help this problem. There are some who believe this money, which is paid by snowmobilers, should be used to purchase trail right-a-ways that all trail users have a right to use, whenever they want. The rules for this permanent trails program are just not written that way. This was recently discussed  with the Department of Natural Resources.

More Accountability and Transparency

The MSA budget is, at this time, balanced. We have not had to borrow to keep the lights on and do not plan to do so. Are we out of the woods? NO, not by a ways, money is still in short supply. We just can’t do all we would like to.

I believe we are on the right path, BUT we ALL will have to watch expenses and live within our budget.

In closing, we need to make MSA more accountable and transparent, let our members know what is going on. We need our members and they need us. I welcome any and all comments, about MSA, our budget, the issues, and organized snowmobiling in Michigan. But please keep in mind that it is impossible to implement all of those ideas and suggestions. Continued discussions and brainstorming will make MSA stronger.

“If it wasn’t for MSA, there would be NO one voice of snowmobilers in Michigan. The funding for our trails would not be what it is today, and no one would be watching to make sure those dollars were spent to make snowmobiling better in Michigan.” — Rick Brown when asked about the importance of MSA for a story that ran in the September 2013 edition of the Michigan Snowmobile News.