About DATA

The beginnings of snowmobiling in Douglas County echo the strong passion and excitement snowmobilers carry in their hearts every time the first snowflake starts to fall.

There were many snowmobilers who created relationships and negotiated with their neighbors to make trails on landowner property. These trails served the small communities and were maybe 5 to 10 miles in length. Each area/group had a separate club with one of them being the Viking SnoFliers, started by Dee Normand. Dee along with Bernie Botner started five miles of trail by the old KOA campground.

In the early 1970’s, Dee Normand and Bernie Botner had a plan to start a snowmobile club that would serve all of Douglas County. The plan would create a structured trail system and combine the many trails that already existed. This was the beginning of the Douglas Area Trails Association. 

The first board members consisted of the local snowmobile dealers, other business owners, and community members. The board members contacted landowners in their respective areas with hopes of combining all the trails into one large system. The endeavor was successful, resulting in the trail system that exists today. 

When it came to equipment, DATA had a drag to groom the trails but they didn’t have a piece of equipment to pull the drag. Earl Anderson and Al Kvitek personally signed for a loan at the bank to purchase the first groomer, a WoodTiger, that was large enough to pull the drag.

Bill Anderson was hired as the first Trail Manager in the late 1970’s. Bill maintained the relationships with landowners, continued to build on the trail system, managed volunteers, and promoted snowmobiling. 

Al Lalum was president of the DATA board in the 1980’s and was instrumental at the state level to lobby for snowmobiler rights and laws that would be fair to snowmobilers. 

When it came to combining the Central Lakes Trail with the DATA trails, Al Liefort of the parks department, joined the DATA board to build on the relationships and incorporate the funds of DATA to purchase the Central Lakes Trail. This was a successful endeavor. 

When studs were banned on the Central Lakes Trail, Earl Anderson, Al Liefort, and Bill Anderson, testified at the legislative session to remove the stud ban. They were successful and all snowmobilers are allowed to use the Central Lakes Trail today. 

In 1990, DATA started the Sponsor a Trail program where DATA members could sponsor miles of trails to support the grooming expenses for the trail. This program still exists today and the Sponsor a Trail signs are posted throughout the trail system. 

In the mid- 1990’s, charitable gambling entered the picture as a reliable source of financial support for DATA. That program exists today and continues to aid in the financial success of DATA. 

Landowner picnics are held each year to show appreciation to the landowners who allow the trails on their property.