The Leicester trails are part of an intricate network, intersecting with the Spencer trail system and connecting riders throughout the state and into New Hampshire.
The Leicester club thrived in the early 1970s as the Leicester Snow Rovers, but faded out in the 1980s. A different group of enthusiasts got it running in 1996, re-establishing the trail system and building the membership.
Part of the club's success is its new grooming program, which trains members to maintain the trails on a regular basis. If the trail is particularly rough, it may need two passes with the grooming machines, running only three to five miles an hour.
With more than 200 members, the club sponsors social activities in conjunction with trail riding. Poker runs involve picking up different colored sticks along the trail and exchanging them for playing cards at the end of the run. The best hand wins the pot. Barbecue dinners set up at a spot along the trail offer a free meal with friends.
In addition, Family Days provide child-centered activities, and club breakfasts are held Sunday mornings at the Leicester Rod and Gun Club.
The club belongs to the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts (SAM), sending two delegates to the organization's monthly meetings in Springfield. Issues include insurance and liability, critical to gaining trail access from landowners. The organization also lobbies on Beacon Hill to keep the trails open.
To legally ride the trails, an adult operator must belong to a local Snowmobile Club and the snowmobile must have both a valid Massachusetts snowmobile registration and a Massachusetts Trail Pass for that machine purchased from Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts (SAM), commonly referred to as a "SAM Pass". The Department of Environmental Police regularly patrols our trails and there is a significant fine for being caught riding without a registration and SAM Pass. Penalties can include fines, towing and/or confiscation of your equipment.