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Dan Zimmerman honored for 3 decades as volunteer instructor

DNR concervation officer Jim Guida (left) presents Dan Zimmerman an award in honor of Zimmerman's 30 years as a volunteer DNR snowmobile safety instructor.

About the time I attended my first snowmobile safety class, Dan Zimmerman started his volunteer public service as a DNR snowmobile safety instructor. That was 30 years ago. I recently visited Zimmerman at his home to present him with an appreciation award for 30 years of service.

He didn't expect an award but, ironically enough, had some open wall space in his shed next to some historic-looking framed snowmobile racing photographs. There also were numerous trophies, some of which he won while competing in 1989 in the International 500 Snowmobile Race. When asked about his most memorable moment he had while snowmobiling, he humbly brought up that 500-mile race, which is considered one of the toughest endurance races.

It was the second time I'd stopped by his house that week. The first time, he wasn't around but instead was riding the snowmobile trails of Big Fork with some of his old riding buddies. In 1985, Zimmerman bought Leisure, Lake, and Lawn, which was a Polaris dealership. And shortly after that, he was asked to volunteer his time teaching youth snowmobile safety. Thirty years later, he's still at it.

If you are interested in becoming a DNR certified volunteer instructor, visit for more information.