Reiny Hanneken of Pierz was recently honored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). He was honored with appreciation and recognition for partnering with the Division of Enforcement since 1993 with the coordination and purchase of snowmobiles for the Pierz DNR conservation officer.
A snowmobile club project was first proposed in 1993 as a way to provide a quality snowmboile for the local DNR conservation officer. This would allow the conservation officer to be active in patrolling trails, providing a presence on snowmobile trails and to help local snowmobile clubs provide a quality, safe experience for riders in the area.
Hanneken was the first to suggest the partnership between the clubs and the local conservation officer when a confiscated snowmobile came up for sale.
Initially, the idea was met with controversy and opposition from snowmobile clubs and other civic groups, with the biggest issue being spending club money to purchase a piece of equipment for the state.
Hanneken and some other cub members saw the benefit of having a strong law enforcement presence on the trails, building integrity into the sport. He worked with snowmobile club members and eventually gained near unanimous support for the effort.
Once support had been garnered for the efforts, Hanneken partnered with the local conservation officer to conduct fundraising and meeting with other area snowmobile clubs and various civic groups to sell the program.
Over a 20-year period, the Buckman Trailblazers Snowmobile Club and Hanneken have sponsored the fundraising for and purchase of four snowmobiles for use by the local conservation officer. The program allows the upgrade to a new sled every four years, to provide up-to-date and reliable equipment.
Paul Kuske, DNR conservation officer, said the effort created a very positive working relationship between the area snowmobile clubs and the local conservation officer. He said an economic relationship was also created with local businesses, since the snowmobiles were always purchased locally.
“The program has come to a conclusion with the increased availability of quality sleds provided by the state and the changes made to fund raising abilities for state agencies,” said Kuske.
Hanneken is also a certified snowmobile safety instructor. He and his fellow instructors from the Buckman Trailblazers Snowmobile Club have been instructing young people for the past 25 years in the Pierz area.