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Informational Notice to Snowmobile Registration Applicants

Prepared by Major John B. Wimsatt, May 19, 2016

 

The purpose of this notice is to provide clarification and background information regarding the recent transition to an electronic club membership system being implemented by the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA).

 

During the fall of 2012, the NHFG Registration Program was audited by the Legislative Budget Assistant (LBA). In the results summary, the findings recommended improving our ability to monitor membership registrations and registration certificates.  In short, the current process of verifying and documenting proof of a paid club membership is deficient. Numerous, irreconcilable membership numbering systems were then, and still are, collected and recorded on our registration forms. This presents a problem that not only impacts my Department, but also the NHSA, DRED BOT, the clubs and the riders themselves.

 

To address the problem, I began by communicating the issue to NHSA on several occasions at monthly NHSA Board meetings after the audit. We then began discussions to develop possible solutions. It became readily apparent that the best option was for NHSA to develop an electronic on-line membership program. The key feature to the system would be to provide one verifiable, auditable and unique numbering system to ensure proper control measures and ensure accurate reconciliation.  Currently, the NHFG registration system accepts more than one numbering system to include a club number, proof of a paid club membership receipt, and an NHSA electronic voucher number. The reason we currently accept all of these formats is derived from the existing statutes and associated administrative rules. The applicable laws and rules are as follows: (I selected a resident club member registration as an example. Keep in mind these fees do not reflect the $3 Agent fee, $2 Transaction fee and $1 Search and Rescue fee).

 

215-C:39 Registration Fees.

The fees to be collected under this chapter are as follows:

 

I. Individual resident registration--$90 for each snowmobile registration upon presentation of a valid driver's license issued to a New Hampshire resident 18 years of age or older. An individual resident registering a snowmobile who provides proof, at the time of registration, that the individual is a member of an organized New Hampshire nonprofit snowmobile club which is a member of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association shall pay $60 for each snowmobile.

 

215-C:52 General Administration.
I. Except as provided in RSA 215-C:9 and RSA 215-C:10, the executive director is authorized to adopt and amend, pursuant to RSA 541-A, such rules and administrative procedures which are consistent with the provisions of this chapter relative to snowmobiles that he or she deems necessary or advisable to carry out the intent and purposes of said provisions with regard to:

  • (a) Equipment requirements;
  • (b) Registrations;
  • (c) Classification;
  • (d) The safety of operators, passengers, and other persons; and
  • (e) The protection of property.

 

Fis 1503.02  OHRV and Snowmobile Registrations.
(a)  Applicants for OHRV or snowmobile registrations as defined in RSA 215-A:1 and RSA 215-C:1, shall provide to the agent on a form provided by the department the following:

 

(g)  For the purposes of proving club membership, applicants shall show a membership card or a paid membership application for the current registration year in a non-profit snowmobile club as specified in RSA 215-C:39, I and III.


These laws and rules provide the basis for how we currently go about collecting proof of a paid club membership. As stated above, and as reflected by the audit, my Department needs to improve on this system and eliminate the multiple and varied numbering systems for providing proof of a paid club membership in order to ensure verifiable and auditable data collected by our electronic system.

 

What this all means to the clubs and individual snowmobilers is that for this 2016/2017 season, the process you have previously used to show proof of a paid membership to a club that is a member of NHSA remains largely unchanged. We are not asking clubs to develop new numbering systems or cards, etc. Use may choose to use the NHSA Voucher electronic system, or you may provide proof at the time of registration of a paid application, or provide a valid recognized club ID card for the current registration year. If you have any questions, please contact the NHSA office to discuss your options of providing proof of club membership.

 

What changed is that NHSA has developed an on-line membership process that generates a 12 digit voucher number. This number will be accepted as proof of paid membership to a club that is a member of NHSA. You do have the choice to use the approved methods used in the past for the 2016/2017 season, and you are not required to become an individual member of NHSA. Moving forward and in an effort to meet our goal of improving the efficiency and accountability of this verification process, we encourage clubs and individual snowmobilers to work together to make this new membership process developed by NHSA work effectively. I recognize some concerns have been raised regarding interpretation of the statute and how that relates to the content of the online membership system. To that end, we have consulted with NHSA, NH Fish and Game Licensing Staff, Bureau of Trails staff and the Attorney General’s office to improve our collective knowledge and understanding of this complicated issue. NHSA will be evaluating the information provided through this process and determine whether or not additional changes or alterations are warranted. I am confident that an electronic membership system will be a vast improvement over the antiquated, time consuming and cumbersome paper system that causes many inconveniences for the customer, the club and the registration agent.

 

Thank you to those that have expressed an interest during this initiative and offered input towards the process.  I wish to extend a sincere thank you to Executive Director Gail Hanson for her extraordinary leadership over the last 14 years and we wish her and family all the best in retirement.