Rene Leenaars has been riding snowmobiles since 1967 – a time of Bogie wheels and carburetor leek! Anyone that knows Rene knows that he does not sit still (a critical success factor for Rene!), and so in the 1970’s he joined the Port Carling Snow Drifters snowmobile club.
In 2001 Rene moved his family to Muskoka and that’s when his volunteer efforts intensified. His mechanical abilities were put to work as Director of Trails with the MLSTA and in 2006 he became president. Rene’s strong commitment to the MLSTA resulted in him being President until 2016! Not only did Rene oversee the MLSTA during this time, but also was a Director with the (former) MSR, where he oversaw all grooming equipment purchases/repairs and trail building. During his tenure with the MSR, Rene also authored the Groomer Training Manual along with the Groomer Check List: (still used today).
As President of the MLSTA, Rene succeeded in getting it’s first new piece of grooming equipment, a shiny Husky! Funding and subsequent paperwork was a challenge but Rene’s efforts paid off because that was the first time the MSR/MLSTA ever received a full funding grant for new equipment. “Drying up” trails in the MLSTA area was a priority for Rene and his team which meant countless hours of “corduroy” work as well as bridge work and installing culverts. These efforts are ongoing!
Rene had ridden most of the trails in Ontario and Quebec. Additionally, he has ridden in Michigan’s U.P. and large parts of Wisconsin. His most memorable trip was to Moosonee where he hired a guide to take him parts north. Warm conditions, dangerous ice conditions, and deep snow made for a very long day! The plan was to ride the same trail back to Moosonee but that was not Rene – he managed to convince the guide to cut a deal with the conductor of a parked train. They loaded their sleds for a safe ride back.