Recently there has been discussion in the media regarding the use of easements to secure trails. While the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) has consulted with the provincial government on many trail related issues and welcomes legislative changes that would provide added protection for both its member organizations and landowners, principally in respect of trail liability, it has not had cause to be a party to any discussion in respect of land access.
For decades now, snowmobile trails have existed through partnerships between individual landowners and their local snowmobile club utilizing written agreements. These land use permission agreements adequately define land use parameters, including landowner cancellation authority and notice, and ensure that the OFSC's General Liability Insurance protects the landowner.
The OFSC and our member organizations do not have any intention of utilizing easements preferring rather to use the traditional time tested land use agreement process which has, and continues to serve landowners and clubs well.
Update: Subsequent to the above explanation, the following statement has been released:
"The province introduced Bill 100, the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015, to improve access to Ontario’s trails, building both a healthier, and more prosperous Ontario. Our ministry held consultations with over 250 organizations, including municipalities, Aboriginal groups, trail organizations and not-for-profit organizations. The feedback the ministry heard during these consultations was integral to shaping the proposed legislation.
To be clear, an easement pursuant to Bill 100, if passed, would be a voluntary agreement between a landowner and an eligible body or bodies. No property owner would be compelled to provide an easement unless they agreed to do so.
- Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport"