Meeting Minutes of the Grand Mesa Nordic Council
18 Nov, 2021

GMNC Board meeting minutes 13October2021 6:00-8:55 PM

Our Mission Statement: “Grand Mesa Nordic Council is a community-supported, nonprofit organization of people who love to cross-country ski on the Grand Mesa in western Colorado. We are dedicated to promoting fun, safe, cross-country skiing experiences for skiers of all ages and abilities.

Attending: Board members: Lynea Schultz-Ela, Larry Gruel, Cameron Tyler, Tom Ela, Joe Ramey; absent Dan Tille. Key employees attending: Christie Aschwanden, Kris Hjelle, Dave Smith. Guest: Denise Massart.

1. Guest comments: Denise Massart introduced herself and expressed interest in joining the board. In executive session, the board voted unanimously to welcome Denise to the board. She may serve as secretary and wishes to help with programs, events.

2. Previous board meeting minutes - Cameron Tyler.  Lynea will download the minutes for all the board to read, edit, approve. Joe will record this meeting.

3. Treasurer Report – Larry Gruel shared the financial dashboard. Discussions: income is higher than one year ago. We have already paid more than budgeted for snowcat and snowmobile maintenance. Members are already sending in membership dues. Map advertisements tax deductible amount discussion. Kris will send out thank you letters with a donation amount receipt. The deductibility of the map ads is up to the donor and we provide no guidance.  PNL document shows $1000 in income is for map ads, there is a donation for CERF. Some donations, adult lessons, and grooming expenses from the end of last season were recorded after 1 May putting them on this season’s total. Larry’s financial summary: we are in good shape. We have a financial bumper to handle some unexpected issues. 

4. Executive Director Report – Christie Aschwanden summary: lots of time on the phone. Lots of communication. 

A. Timber sale issue was resolved at the beginning of October. 

B. Children’s program- meetings with GVNSC, TNC, REC led to a decision to support them by coordinating schedules and providing grooming; GVNSC communication is still ongoing, but absorbing them back into the GMNC, if that is to happen, will wait beyond this season. 

C. COPMOBA meeting occurred at County Line trails. USFS Mike Jones is encouraging GMNC-COPMOBA collaboration. There is no COPMOBA interest in a permanent structure. COPMOBA has signposts along some of our trails; perhaps we could use the posts in the winter. 

D. USFS issues: Christie has submitted the final AOP version. One problem is our new, more accurate, User Days. Christie has divided out the User Days into different events. The USFS is worried we will have too many folks in programs that would limit trail use by the general public. This concern is not based in fact and may be rectified by better USFS observations. GMNC-USFS partnership continues to evolve and may still have some friction in the near future. Christie’s concern for infrastructure overload is not trail use but parking space. That is completely USFS’s responsibility that the GMNC has pointed out repeatedly. Mike Jones is working hard to find solutions. GMNC-USFS site visit is upcoming. Christie will meet with a USFS engineer to evaluate the new trailhead at Ward.

E. The rest of her report will be covered in the committee reports.

5. Committee reports

A. Ops Calendar to opening day – Joe & Christie. Equipment- the two newer snowmobiles are at Tom Lambert’s house. The newest machine needs Ginzu switches installed. Joe will explore. The older machine is in Cedaredge and has been analyzed with a failed seal but no damage; we are waiting on the seal to arrive to complete repairs. Dave Smith has arranged for the PB400 to be delivered around 1 November. Snowmobiles too will be delivered also around 1 November or before the next big snow storm. Kris will license the older snowmobile. The roller that was out of round has been worked on and is useable. Eric Jansen has observed that the Ginzu wiring is old.  Ops Crew- Christie and Kris have gotten contracts to employees. A Groomer meeting will be on 22 October. Trailhead signs will be installed after this storm cycle. (CL#2 trailhead signs were built and prepared on 14 October by Joe and Dave Smith.)

B. Map update – Tom & Christie: Ten trail map advertisements have been sold and nine are paid. Tina Wilson will be working on the maps by late October  and the work should go quickly.

C. Newsletter – Tom & Christie: the idea is to get out a Mailchimp as soon as possible with an event calendar, welcome members to renew their memberships. Mailchimp every two weeks; board member articles are encouraged. Electronic newsletter will go out near 1 November, again with articles from board members. Christie observed shorter Mailchimps or emails are more effective.  Tom Ela will send out examples from last season to remind the board of the structure. Christie- we need to do an Annual Report that nonprofits do. This was included in the October newsletter in the past. Christie will write a Letter from the Executive Director. Christie will ask members to give more this season. Kris- needs someone to volunteer to follow up on bounced emails after a newsletter mailing. This requires phone calls to those members to find a useful email. This would be a duty for a Membership Director that we do not have yet. Christie and Kris will discuss this duty.

D. Publicity – Dan shared with Lynea: one video is completely ready. Other two videos need verbiage adjustment and will be ready in a few weeks. Lynea: the first video can be put in a loop to play during events like Kid’s Pasta Project (KPP) pickup. Christie: opening event will be at the Cedaredge Art Center 3PM 23 October and will be held outside weather permitting (masks welcome). Slide show will likely not be possible. Tom offered banners, tables, etc. Tom and Christie will coordinate.

6. AOP discussion – Christie. Lynea noticed new, improved verbiage on signage. User Day work was substantial. Our impression is the USFS does not have a full appreciation of how our trail use has grown. We need to be transparent and accurate. Our emphasis is to work collaboratively with the USFS. Tom noted that the alternate route mentioned in the ED notes is for a snowshoe trail not a groomed ski trail. What Tom has in mind is a skinny trail. Christie will talk to Mike Jones about that, and the Ops Committee will discuss. Perhaps this winter we can do further scoping for new trails.  An aside: no rogue programs can be allowed to occur on GMNC trails.

7. Board Retreat action items – Lynea. Thanks to Tom Ela for retreat notes.

A. How big do we really want to be? This is a function of membership. Ambassador program is planned for this season with some training for volunteers. Ambassadors will plan to be at the trailhead talking to users. Christie wants pins for members; bigger than the 2016 pins (@ $0.90 each). Lynea, we have money set aside for such things, but getting these items to members is difficult. Christie, have members pick up the pins at trailhead membership tables.

      B. New trails – this discussion should start with the USFS committee, then bring decisions back to the board.

       C. Board governance- methodology for recruitment and committee building. Lynea volunteered to build a new board member packet with insight from longer-term board members. Recruitment- Dan will work with Martin to get members-needed requests onto the website.  Tom- committee chairs, if you want committee members let Tom know so he can get that request in a Mailchimp. Larry- suggested a specific Mailchimp for just board membership needs. 

      D. Permanent Warming Hut. Christie and Lynea- this topic needs its own committee. This is beyond the ED job scope. Joe noted he has been the point of contact and can assist with the history of the project. Dan has been involved and since he is not attending perhaps he should be Chair! Cameron offered to be available for legal issues. Tom- the first step would be to hire a project manager for the $10k offered for this. Bill Pierce at Soldier Hollow is one possibility. We need to build a proposal for John Lorentzen as per Dan Tille. Arrange a pre-permit meeting with the Mesa County building department. Joe will go to the Mesa County building department for pre-meeting information. Larry- this process would typically be facilitated by an architect; that is what we need to look for perhaps through a Mailchimp request. Lynea is wondering if there is a builder out there that can help us with design work. Christie knows a builder that might be useful. Joe noted we have used Frontier Log Homes for plans thus far. Larry Joe and Dan will formulate a committee then ask for more committee members through Mailchimp.

       E. Kid’s Program insurance review before we do anything with kids. Christie will check with Martin.

       F. Operations, write a grant for a new snowmobile. Cameron may be interested in this.

       G. Snowshoers, we need to figure out messaging, snowshoe trails and get approval, and we need a snowshoe rack card. Christie agrees that we need snowshoers (board members?) to lead this project. The Ambassadors Program will do a lot of outreach on this and Christie doesn’t think we need another committee. Christie offered to writeup a flyer for snowshoers. Kris has talked to snowshoers on the trails. Lynea has a list of involved snowshoers from last season. 

8. Upcoming events - Christie. October 23rd event in Cedaredge. Christie will advertise. KPP is coming up on 1 November, it is virtual. Kannah Creek Brewery event is not happening this year, nor do they have a firken program either.  Tom will explore some other Grand valley event, but an indoor event at a bar is concerning. Christie- Edgewater has a large outdoor area. Tom listed other bar outdoor venues. Cameron- keep it simple. This goes to the committee of Christie, Tom, Dan.

     9. Loki sponsor update. Seth is offering to supply all of our groomer clothing needs. GMNC members are encouraged to support Loki who has been a longtime supporter.

     10. Dave statement: Christie and Dave are working well together. The grooming crew thinks they will do some big things this season.