The Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club was founded in the fall of 1970 at a meeting held at Benson's Automatic Transmission Specialties. After much discussion, the name Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club was chosen.
In January of 1971, a bill was introduced in the legislature to ban all snowmobiling in the State of Oregon. The club was instrumental in defeating the legislation. Again, the bill was introduced in the 1973 and 1975 sessions and once again, the Mt. Jefferson snowmobile club fought the battle and defeated the bill.
In October 1971, the Club put on a grass drag race for snowmobilers at the Antique Powerland in Brooks. We had a concession both run by ladies of the Club and the fellows handled the drags. We made about $500. It was a lot of work, but everyone had a good time.
Over the years we have met everywhere. The Armory, Far West Savings Hall, Beilke's Snowmoble Center, Northwest Natural Gas, Westminster Presbyterian Church, North's Chuckwagon, West Salem King's Table, Myrl's Chuckwagon, Pietro's Pizza, Axandria's Restaurant, Chelsea's Restaurant. Ming's restaurant, and currently we meet at Pietro's Pizza.
For many years the Club has had an annual Christmas Party with Santa and presents for the kids. We have also had an annual New Year's outing. We had about three New Year's outings at cold springs. More recently, the New Year's outings have been held at the Ray Benson Snowmobile Park featuring a fire works display and potluck.
Our group has always ridden primarily the HooDoo/Big Lake area and have seen many changes in our parking area. In the early days, the road to Big Lake was only plowed about two blocks, then they made a loop road and it was plowed out. After that the road was plowed almost to where we now turn off to our parking lot. The current sno-park was built in approximately 1977, and Named after Ray Benson who was one of the club's founding members. Ray Benson had been instumental in having the lot built. The parking lot was further expanded in the summer of 1990 in a joint effort between the Club and the Forest Service.
The warming shelter was built in 1985. The Forest Service provided the wood and the Club members built the shelter. It was first put togther out at Beilke's farmland then taken apart, trucked up to Ray Benson Sno-Park, and put back together.
The Club has always had a good working relationship with the Forest Service, the Big Lake Church Lodge, HooDoo Lodge, and the law enforcement agencies. We have participated in many search and rescue efforts and have conducted several clean-up parties in the spring and summer.
The Club has always been an active participation in OSSA (Oregon State Snowmobile Association). We are a Charter Club. One of our Club members was President of OSSA. We have always had a club member on the Board of Directors. For this reason, we have been able to have good input from our Club and relate our needs and wishes to OSSA.
Our membership has gone from a handful of people to a big happy bunch of people. May we continue to attract more families to the Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club.
In the 94/95 season, electricty was brought to the Ray Benson Sno-Park. The club in cooperation with the US Forest Service, wired the shelter for lights and the restrooms had lights, heaters, and ventilation fans installed. This was a long awaited but much appreciated improvement.
On January 20, 1995, the Club celebrated it's 25th anniversay. A celebration banquet was held at Henry Thiele's Prime Rib restaurant in Salem. approximately 80+ members and past members attended the festive evening.The Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club showed their appreciation to the members of the US Forest Service. Plaques were presented to Randy Dunbar, John Allen, Phil Raab, and Stevve Otoupalik, for their outstanding service and cooperation with the Mt. Jefferson Club. Plaque were awarded to Phil Beilke, Shirley Benson-Bernard, and Ray & Doris Bartosz. Door prizes were given throughout the evening and nostalgia slide show was enjoyed by all.
On January 15, 2005 we had a dedication ceremony after extensive improvements and repairs had been done on the shelter. The shelter was re-dedicated and named after the late Roger Schmidt who was a long time member, former club president and former OSSA president