Every time I ski on the beautifully groomed trails in Limestone, I tell myself to write a thank you to Norman Page, who maintains the trails at Trafton Lake and at the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, on the former Loring Air Force Base. I call him my personal trail groomer because I often am the only one enjoying his freshly set track.

Page is one of a number of people in Aroostook County who volunteer time to give skiers a first-rate experience. Gerry Roy maintains trails in Madawaska, Tom Campbell in Stockholm, the Plourde family in Westmanland, and Linda Milligan and Amanda Barker in Ashland, to name a few.

Supported by donations from their communities and fundraisers — from bottle recycling to spaghetti suppers — to pay for gas and maintenance, groomers seldom detail the number of hours they spend on snowmobiles to make trails, but they all are avid skiers, eager to share and enjoy the fruits of their labors on the trails.

“I like to do it,” says Page, who grooms 3 miles of trails at Trafton Lake and about 10 miles at the refuge. “I go when they need it. I’ve been doing it for 30 years.”

Page, a retired farmer and master skier, says he is rewarded for his efforts by seeing people get outside. “When I see seven or eight people out there, it makes me want to do more.”

Tom Campbell of Stockholm agrees.

“The greatest reward for me is seeing the trail beat up,” he says. “That’s what I do it for.”

The greatest frustration, in addition to getting stuck, is seeing the trails unused.

Campbell, a machinist at Huber Corp. in Easton, grooms the Snowy Mountain Trail behind the former Stockholm Elementary School — now the town office — and a trail near his home, a total of about 8 miles.

“It’s so nice to go out your back door and ski,” says Campbell, who made the flat drag, roller and track setter he uses to groom the trails.

After a snowfall, he packs down the trails with the snowmobile, drags them, rolls them — creating a corduroy surface with a comb attached to the roller — and sets the track, covering the trails at least four times with each step in the process.

“By Thursday, I try to make sure the tracks are freshened up for the weekend,” he says, adding he often works until 9 or 10 p.m. His wife, Donna, says she’s a “groomer’s widow.”

Linda Milligan of Ashland grooms early in the morning for the same reason Campbell grooms late at night: “The trails set up best when it’s cold,” she says.

“I just roll out of bed and put on my layers.” She begins grooming between 4 and 5 a.m.

A ski coach for Ashland middle and high school students, Milligan grooms about 3 miles of trails for skate skiing around her home on the Wrightville Road. Her friend Amanda Barker, a forest ranger, grooms 4 miles of trails with a set track for classic skiing on the farm of Ed and Marilyn Chase on the Garfield Road.

“We hope more people will come out and use these trails, free and open to the public,” says Barker, describing a family fun day scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. March 21 on the Chase farm.

Organizers of Ashland’s fun day rent a trailer full of ski equipment from the Maine Winter Sports Center, for those who don’t have their own gear, and offer participants a hot dog roast, stew and home-baked treats out on the trail.

The components of that event resemble those of the community winter fun day I attended in Limestone on March 7. Children on sleds and tubes sped down the hill behind Limestone Community School while volunteers fitted people of all ages with skis from the MWSC trailer.

Inside, the Fantasyland Cowboy Band provided music in the cafeteria while participants warmed up with chili, chicken stew and chocolate brownies a la mode. Rotary Club members sold hot dogs and buns to be roasted over a fire outside.

Tending the fire, Elizabeth Pelkey, assistant residential life director at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, expressed her appreciation of the “sense of community pride” she sees in Aroostook County, especially on the trails.

“I had no idea that groomed cross-country ski trails existed for public use until I went to college,” she says. “I guess I just thought they were something special for the Olympics and that sort of thing.”

A native of Penobscot County (Winn and Mattamiscontis), she recalled, “we always had cross-country skis, and my mom would get all excited and want us to go as a family, but my siblings and I hated it with a passion. Cross-country skiing meant trudging through knee-deep snow for hours while we took turns breaking trail, huffing and puffing and sweating to death.”

After Pelkey moved to Aroostook County in 2008 to attend Northern Maine Community College, she was invited to join her uncles for a ski on the groomed trails at Caribou High School. “They had to beg me to go and it was bitterly cold, but once I stepped into the track a light turned on and I realized, ‘Hey! This is why people like cross-country skiing!’”

Now she skis at Trafton Lake and has helped several MSSM students learn to love cross-country skiing.

“It’s been pretty awesome to have their first experiences on skis be drastically more positive than mine were,” she says. “I’m so blessed to live in a community that values keeping active in the winter months. It’s nice to have more than one option for outdoor activity when we live in a snowy wonderland.”

For more information on Aroostook trails, visit goaroostookoutdoors.com. For Ashland, visit the Ashland Area Cross Country Ski Club Facebook page or call Linda at 227-9135 or Amanda at 435-4870.