|Landowners and Snowmobile Clubs|
Landowners, Volunteers & Trails: Ontario's landowners and snowmobile clubs have been partners and allies for more than 40 years. Landowners volunteer the winter use of small portions of their land for the placement of snowmobile trails, while club volunteers build and maintain them for snowmobile use only. The land upon which these trails are built remains totally under the ownership, control and authority of the landowner.
By also obtaining winter land use permission from adjacent landowners, club volunteers are able to assemble a local trail "system". To pay for grooming and trail operations, the not for profit club charges snowmobilers a user fee, through the sale of trail permits, for riding these trails. All of these revenues are reinvested back into trail-related activities.
People Helping People: The unique, long term relationship between landowners and clubs strongly reflects the rural values and recreational heritage of small town Ontario. It's based on the long-standing tradition of people helping people, and people contributing to the overall well being of their home communities.
Community Benefits: Through their enduring alliance, landowners and club volunteers sustain snowmobiling as a family activity. In turn, snowmobiling provides local residents with a distinctively Canadian form of recreation. This winter pastime also brings many social, health and economic benefits to the whole community during a normally dormant season of the year.
Keeping Clubs Open: As with most community-based and volunteer-driven service groups, the continuing existence of a local snowmobile club can be fragile. It depends on the club's ability to attract and keep motivated volunteers - and it very much depends on the club's main reason for being: providing community service through snowmobile trails.
That's why good landowner relations are a snowmobile club's top priority. Only through willing and generous landowners can local snowmobile trail systems continue, can user fees be collected, and can local clubs continue to operate for the greater good.
Keeping Trails Open: Just as with many other local service clubs and charitable groups, non-profit snowmobile clubs provide a unique and irreplaceable service to their home communities. So today, it is especially important for landowners and snowmobile clubs to remain close, supportive allies by keeping snowmobile trails open for the benefit of the entire community. After all, the most negative impact of closing a snowmobile trail is on your neighbours, friends and community.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs The OFSC is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization, based in Barrie. It is the coordinating body of organized snowmobiling for Ontario. The OFSC provides advice and guidance to member clubs on a broad range of topics, to assist them in reaching provincial objectives. The Federation is also responsible for activities which the clubs deem are best handled at the provincial level such as TOP (Trans Ontario Provincial) Trail planning, safety, environment, insurance, guidelines, and the user pay system.
How Can a Snowmobile Trail Benefit a Landowner? Snowmobiling has been part of the lifestyle of rural Ontario for over 40 years. Invented by a Canadian, the snowmobile is as characteristic of the 'Great White North' as snow. Snowmobiling provides a family recreational activity during the winter, when other options are limited. It provides an opportunity for every generation to remain connected to the land and to learn respect for Mother Nature and private property. It provides an opportunity for neighbours to share winter recreation.
While not every landowner is a snowmobiler, most landowners appreciate contributing so much to their community and neighbours with so little cost to themselves. Having a snowmobile trail on your land means that snowmobilers have a defined corridor to ride, instead of wandering everywhere. Many landowners have found that allowing one dedicated, clearly marked route across their land ensures the legal, orderly passage of snowmobiles and encourages local riders to stay on the trail.
As a property owner, a snowmobile trail can provide you with winter access to otherwise unreachable parts of your land. During the life of the trail, most clubs will make improvements with your permission and at their own expense, upgrades like small bridges and culverts, gates, reseeding, tree planting, grading, widening, and straightening, which can make your land more valuable or useful in other seasons. And if you are a snowmobiler, you'll have a groomed trail almost to your door!
A snowmobile club requires only a narrow strip of land to run the trail, likely a fraction of your property, and often off the beaten track. Giving permission for a snowmobile trail is a neighbourly act that is an excellent way to make new friends or to get involved in your community. And many clubs are willing to go that extra mile for their landowners, so if you need any help with your land, don't be afraid to ask!