By Ron Schroeder & Archie Cole III
Located in the northwest corner of Northern Michigan sits one of the most scenic areas in the State. It’s called the Jordan Valley. The Jordan River flows through this valley where it empties into Lake Charlevoix in the town of East Jordan. East Jordan has a mix of local residents and seasonal residents who enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
In 1967 the residents of East Jordan started a club called the East Jordan Sno-Mobilers. They banded together and built a modern clubhouse. With lots of hard work and business donations they purchased 30 acres of land where the club-house still sits today. The members wanted to make it a success and their hard work paid off. The club grew very fast. This was made possible by one of the founding fathers, Tom Galmore.
They recruited members from all over the State. By 1969 they were ready to hold their first legislative ride to promote the area. The Safari Ride through the Jordan Valley was a huge success. Other Clubs, like the Kalkaska Club, drove over 40 miles to attend both the ride and the dinner held for the legislators and their families.
Over the years, the club and its members held lots of events, including a grass drag on July 10th of 1969 with over 5,000 in attendance! In addition, there were several oval track races held for many years. They were also the first to teach snowmobile safety classes to kids using snowmobiles.
On the East Jordan property, a decision was made to purchase a chalet style log home from Boyne Falls Log Homes. The log home was leased to the MISA, the organization representing snowmobilers in Michigan. It was at this point in time that the other state organizations decided to join together and form the Michigan Snowmobile Association. The MSA sponsored the first leg of the East Jordan Sno-Mobilers 1st annual Snofari Ride. Ever since that time, the MSA and the East Jordan Club have worked hand in hand to create snowmobiling as a positive family sport. Because of their love of the U.P. they decided to use funds to purchase land in Grand Marais, Michigan. They built a second clubhouse just south of town. On land diagonally located from the current groomer barn.
Since the 1960’s a lot of Clubs have come and gone. However, the heart of the East Jordan Sno-Mobilers remained strong. Over the year’s lots of good people stepped up to keep this club alive.
With the advent of the Off Road Vehicle, several snowmobile club members began enjoying both as recreation. In the spring of 2018 members Tracey Johnson and Alan Kava formed an ORV Club and called it the South Arm ORV Club. Named after the South Arm of beautiful Lake Charlevoix located in East Jordan.
Because of the rise in popularity of ORVs the club took off not only from existing snowmobile club members, but from enthusiasts around the State. Our success was a group effort. Members stepped up to hold organized rides all over the State. On these rides, all members bring dishes to pass as other member’s grill burgers and brats. New members quickly feel like old friends. In less than four years, our membership has tripled.
Due to the fact that we were mostly members of both the snowmobile as well as the ORV club and we used the same clubhouse it was a natural progression to merge into one club. So in April of 2022 we voted on and became The East Jordan Trailblazers. A name that reflects what we have been and hope to be. This merger could not have been possible with-out the cooperation of both Clubs who work hand in hand to make it possible.
As with any new challenge there will be hiccups. There will be trials and errors. There will need to be adjustments. But as history shows, in the end the positives far outweigh the negatives.
One of our goals is to create an ORV trail from the Clubhouse to be used to attract Motorized Recreational enthusiasts from all over the State. This will not only assist the local businesses, but will create a need for new business opportunities. Currently we are well on our way toward the development of this trail. The ORV trail would give us year round Motorized Recreational opportunities. If you would like to be a part of this historic undertaking, go to our East Jordan Trailblazers Face Book page to apply for membership.
For over 50 years, our Club has been responsible for grooming the Jordan Valley Snowmobile trail system. The trail crosses our property and offers snowmobilers and locals the choice to stop in on Sundays for the best breakfast deal in the north. We’ve been serving breakfast for over 50 years, every Sunday from December 1st to the last weekend in March.
In closing I’d like to once again recognize those that came before us on behalf of both organizations. Their efforts are what caused us to be forever linked. To think it all started in a little log cabin in the Jordan Valley 56 years ago. •