For the Montevideo Bush­wackers Club, a group of local outdoor enthusiasts, the lack of snow so far this winter has not put a damper on their winter activities. If they cannot ski, they simply hike or bike.


For the Montevideo Bush­wackers Club, a group of local outdoor enthusiasts, the lack of snow so far this winter has not put a damper on their winter activities. If they cannot ski, they simply hike or bike.

But they would like a place to warm up and socialize after their outings, and that is the reason several members of the group went to the Montevideo City Council meeting Monday to ask for a waiver of fees for use of the shelter house and log cabin in Smith Park this winter.

The group had been granted permission by the city to use the buildings at the posted cost of $25 per time. The city also agreed to let the group use a snowmobile to groom temporary ski trails.

Normally, city park buildings are closed over the winter, primarily because the bathrooms are not equipped to be open in the winter. The issue was discussed by the Park Board, explained Montevideo City Manager Steve Jones, and it was agreed the Bushwackers could use porta-potties, the restrooms on First Street, or possibly the city could open the restrooms at City Hall for large group gatherings.

Spokesman Ed Picht explained the group’s events were open to anyone who wished to participate, and the activities were intended to promote the city’s parks and and recreational possibilities. Allowing the Bushwackers to have events in Smith Park for no charge would help promote the group’s goals, he noted.

While the members of council were receptive to the goals of the group as put forth by Picht, they were initially reluctant to waive fees for fear of setting a precedent.

As it turned out, however, the city had received an anonymous donation of $100 to cover at least four rental fees.

“I like what they’re working on,” said Councilman Marv Garbe. “I think it’s good for the community.”

Council President Sandra Hodge pointed out that by grooming temporary cross country ski trails in the parks, the Bushwackers are contributing something of value to the city.

“I think this would be a great asset to the city,” said Hodge.

After half an hour’s discussion, council voted unanimously to approve the waiver request. Garbe did offer a caveat that nothing is free, and that as costs increase someone would have to pay them.

If the anonymous donor agrees, the money could be donated to the Park Board for signage for the proposed trail.

Picht said later in a e-mail to the Bushwackers that he had sent an e-mail to Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails asking if there are any grant opportunities available. Crow Wing County recently received a $9,500 grant for trail grooming equipment to be given to a club like the Bushwackers.