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Duane (Marv) Hill of Virginia has been named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Snowmobile Volunteer Instructor of the Year for 2016.
Hill has been the lead instructor for snowmobile safety class taught at the Mesabi Sno Voyageurs snowmobile club for 47 years. It is estimated that Hill has instructed and assisted teaching more than 2,000 students over the years as well as recruited numerous other volunteer instructors.
Outside of the classroom, Hill was instrumental in developing the Laurentian Snowmobile Trail, Harry Burr Memorial Rest Area, and trail bridge over the Pike River; organized the area’s first charity ride to benefit the March of Dimes; and has served a number of volunteer leadership positions including Mesabi Sno Voyageurs snowmobile club, Range Trail Committee, and is a current member of the Minnesota United Snowmobiler’s Association (MnUSA).
From snowshoeing through remote, wooded areas to flag early snowmobile trails, fundraising, and working with youth to instill safe habits on the trails, Hill’s lifetime love of the sport is reflected in his many years of volunteer service.
“Marv genuinely cares about teaching students the ways to legally, responsibly and safely operate snowmobiles,” said DNR Conservation Officer Matt Frericks, who nominated Hill for the award. “Only a dedicated instructor who cares about getting young people involved and teaching them the sport of snowmobiling would make such an effort for so many years.”
Even as he has started to slowly turn the instructor reigns over to younger instructors, Hill still plays a vital role in organizing and promoting classes. Each year, he personally arranges for a local DNR officer to present a rules and regulations segment to the class, which helps promote understanding of the role of enforcement and that the DNR Officer is a resource.
More than 1,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety courses across the state.
For more information on the dates and locations of these courses, see an online list on the snowmobile safety page or call 800-366-8917. For a copy of the DNR’s 2016-2017 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, call 888-646-6367 or 651-296-6157 or visit the regulations webpage.