Season Peak of 26,000 Kms of Available OFSC Trails Reached on February 25, 2021
(Barrie, ON: March 31, 2021) – The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) extends sincerest appreciation to our 6,000 volunteers, whose trail-building expertise and operational dedication are the grassroots backbone of our local snowmobile clubs across Ontario. Despite facing unprecedented and continually evolving challenges, their volunteer efforts, cooperation and determination during the past season helped achieved the commitment we made to snowmobilers in our Trails To Ride 2021 plan – to deliver the best possible trail riding experiences.
“I want to commend everyone on Team OFSC for our collective achievements this winter,” commented CEO Landon French, “from volunteers to landowners to stakeholders, and to staff who helped steer us through uncharted territory this year.”
In addition, the OFSC wants to thank each and every permit buyer for your patience and understanding through the season. We really appreciate your support of OFSC trails and your willingness to adapt to local riding this winter and for taking the necessary precautions. Certainly, if the positive, post-season feedback from snowmobilers on social media is any indicator, many of you agree that this season was a success story given the circumstances. And what a story it was…
(Barrie, ON: March 25, 2021) – During this OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is confirming that there are now no OFSC Prescribed trails available for snowmobiling anywhere in Ontario. All of our more than 30,000 kilometres of trails are showing RED on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide (ITG), meaning that the entire provincial trail system is now shut down for the season, thereby ending safe and legal snowmobile trail riding opportunities in every OFSC district until next winter. Meanwhile, we join the Ontario Provincial Police and other police services in warning snowmobilers to stay off any ice, which is disappearing rapidly now that Spring has officially arrived.
Out of respect for our landowners and to protect private property, crops and livestock from off-season trespass by other trail motorized users, the ITG will go offline effective March 26, 2021 until November 2021. Our Go Snowmobiling Apps will not show OFSC trails until December 1, 2021, while your subscription to PRO remains valid for 12 months from your date of upgrade purchase.
March 22 – 28 Proclaimed OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week 2021
(Barrie, ON: March 18, 2021) – The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) has declared the week of March 22 – 28 as OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week 2021. Across the province, landowners are the unsung contributors to organized snowmobiling who donate the use of a portion of their private property for snowmobile trails each winter. Their land not only provides OFSC snowmobilers with safe and legal places to ride, but also connects thousands of sections of disparate trails into an integrated, seamless trail network. In addition, private land provides connections to hundreds of rural winter communities for their recreational, social and economic well-being in our traditionally most dormant season.
Without our more than 18,000 generous landowners, trail riders could not enjoy recreational snowmobiling as we know and enjoy it today. So it’s entirely appropriate that we celebrate OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week 2021 as the opportunity for snowmobile clubs, club volunteers, snowmobilers and snowbelt communities to offer every landowner our heartfelt gratitude for the use of their property during this unprecedented and uncertain winter.
Save Our Trails: In preparation for OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week 2021, we recently launched several key provincial anti-trespass initiatives. One is an ongoing Save Our Trails call to action. It targets making off-trail trespass as socially unacceptable within the snowmobile community as drinking and driving, driving without a seatbelt, or smoking in the workplace are in our society today. Save Our Trails asks individual snowmobilers to support our landowners by spreading the word about responsible behaviour on private property to family and friends, on their social media, and by embracing the behaviour we advocate in the OFSC’s “Friends Don’t Ride With Friends Who Trespass” message.
OFSC Trail Rider Code of Conduct: A second recently introduced initiative is the new OFSC Trail Rider Code of Conduct, the first of its kind developed in North America. The Trail Rider Code of Conduct emphasizes that land use permission is a privilege not a right. It’s a privilege that must be respected and defended by every trail rider adopting the ten responsible behaviours for riding on private property outlined in the Code.
Landowner Radio PSA: In its third key initiative for OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week 2021, we have worked with Skywords Media to develop a radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) to recognize and thank landowners province-wide. The PSA recalls that landowners providing land use for snowmobile trails is a rural tradition that goes back more than 50 years, and extends heartfelt appreciation to each private property owner for making winter safer and more enjoyable.
To coincide with OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week 2021, the PSA is being broadcast on more than 70 participating radio stations until the end of March, and the OFSC is also promoting it through an extensive social media campaign.
OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week 2021 marks the wind-down of the 2020-21 snowmobiling season. But stay tuned, because it’s also the precursor to an ambitious Stay On The Trail/Anti-Trespass Campaign to support our landowners already being planned by the OFSC for launch next fall.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is a volunteer led, not for profit association that provides the voice for organized snowmobiling in Ontario. OFSC snowmobile trails managed by 200 community based, member clubs generate up to $3.3 billion in economic activity in the province each year.
For questions or to schedule a media interview with the OFSC, please contact [email protected]
Snowmobilers Warned To Stay Off Closed Trails Until They Re-Open Next Winter
(Barrie, ON: March 11, 2021) – After delivering some of the best trail riding opportunities in recent memory throughout much of Southern Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) reports that snowmobile operations are ending for this winter in many of its southern-most districts.
With the trail base deteriorating rapidly from mild and rainy weather this week, many local snowmobile clubs, especially those in predominantly farm country areas, have now closed almost 10,000 kilometres of trails, many for the season. More are expected to shut down soon if early spring-like conditions continue. Other clubs are asking snowmobilers to stay off their trails this weekend, until groomers can roll again next week, so as not to increase existing damage to the fragile snow base.
Help Support Our Landowners and Protect OFSC Trails On Private Property
(Barrie, ON: March 4, 2021) – The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is asking all snowmobilers to join us in keeping OFSC trails available to ride every winter. Thanks to 18,000 generous landowners, about 60% of OFSC trails cross private property, providing access to communities and services, as well as connections neighbouring regions, and safer riding for everyone. So each snowmobiler who loves trail riding shares a common goal of protecting our trails on private property, respecting our landowner partners, and maintaining the inter-connected trail system that provides so many positive benefits for rural economies.
All of us have a part to play in preserving snowmobile trails and standing up for our landowners. Together, our goal is to make wandering off the marked trail and trespassing on private property as socially unacceptable within the snowmobile community as drinking and driving, driving without a seatbelt, or smoking in the workplace are throughout our province.
A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Economics of Delivering Snowmobile Trails
(Barrie, ON: February 25 , 2021) – As the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) enters its 54th year as the voice for the volunteer snowmobile clubs in this province, it’s informative to look at a few of our “Snowmobiling By The Numbers”. Hopefully, they help all of us better appreciate the big picture of organized snowmobiling in Ontario – and what a massive, complex and valuable undertaking this year-round enterprise really is. It’s also a sobering look at the economic benefits that are being lost to snowbelt communities as too many trails are closed due to snowmobilers wandering off marked trails.
Most of these Snowmobiling By The Numbers are from the 2018-2019 riding season, the most recent figures available. While the numbers vary slightly from year to year, and may be down this season due to current restrictions, a primary and very unpredictable variable is consistent: What kind of season we get from Old Man Winter?