News release: Andover man is 2023 volunteer snowmobile safety instructor of the year

February 26, 2024

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Merwyn Larsen, who has been a snowmobile safety instructor with the St. Francis Sno-Ghosts for 47 years, as the 2023 volunteer snowmobile safety instructor of the year.

As part of the club, Larsen has taught snowmobile safety each year since he was first certified as an instructor in 1976. An avid snowmobile rider himself, Larsen is the longest-standing member of the Sno-Ghosts and, along with other instructors, has taught classes that included up to 100 students. In his time with the club, he’s served in every officer capacity available, including as president. He was a driving force in creating snowmobile trails in Anoka County, doing everything from working with landowners to provide access across their properties to clearing trees. He also manages the grant-in-aid trail program for the Sno-Ghosts.

“Merwyn really was a visionary when it comes to riding opportunities in Anoka County and is directly responsible for teaching hundreds of students how to enjoy riding safely,” said Conservation Officer Bruce Lawrence, the Enforcement Division’s recreational vehicle coordinator. “He’s consistently gone above and beyond, sets the bar high for all of our volunteer instructors, and is extremely deserving of this honor.”

Larsen is among the more than 1,000 volunteer instructors who teach DNR snowmobile safety classes across the state and are the backbone of the program. Minnesota residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 are required to have a snowmobile safety certificate to ride, but DNR safety officials recommend all people who ride a snowmobile complete a safety training course.

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