WALKER -- Cass County Land Commissioner Kirk Titus obtained county board approval Tuesday, Oct. 1, to sign a Federal Recreational Trail Program grant application.

He will submit that before March, with approval or denial known about June of 2020.

It could be the first of several such applications. The current application is for the Longville snowmobile club, which seeks to fill the funding gap to cover the fact trail groomers have doubled in price since the last groomers were bought 20 years ago.

Longville is the first of several county snowmobile clubs about to face this challenge. Its club paid about $110,000 for the groomer the club bought 20 years ago. Today, the new groomer price is about $240,000.

Cass County builds recreational trails and distributes state trails grants to clubs, which in turn uses volunteers to maintain them.

Younger trail users have not stepped up to volunteer their time to maintain trails like their aging parents, nor have they contributed as much financially to the clubs, clubs have reported.

Longville Lakes Area Snowmobile Club has saved $120,000 toward its new groomer. Cass County has pledged $60,000 from its recreational trails fund, which will have only $15,000 left in it until year end after this dedication.

The federal grant application will be for the remaining $60,000 needed. The land department and club are hopeful they will get the full grant amount, because they expect to get less than $10,000 trade-in for the old groomer.

The Longville club already has spent quite a bit on repairs for their old groomer, with parts harder and harder to find.

In other land department business Tuesday, the board approved an engineering services agreement with Erickson Engineering of Eden Prairie, not to exceed $40,900 for the replacement Soo Line Trail recreational trail river crossing north of Federal Dam.

Erickson Engineering will do field survey work, a hydraulic flood analysis, a preliminary design, submit permit applications, identify any hazardous material in the old bridge (which burned in 2018), do boring tests and prepare new bridge and approach designs.

The board also approved a contract with Schrupp Excavating, the lower of two bidders, to reshape Bull Moose off highway vehicle and snowmobile trail for $500 and to deliver taconite tailings at $20 per yard.