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?
2021 Season Includes Many Positive Indicators For Organized Snowmobiling
(Barrie, ON: February 18, 2021) – Overcoming many of this season’s uncertainties, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is making considerable progress on our promise to deliver the best possible trail riding experiences for snowmobilers this winter. Following extraordinary efforts, our districts, clubs and volunteers made over 22,000 kilometres of OFSC trails available for your local riding pleasure on the 2021 Family Day Long Weekend. This included many close to home, day ride opportunities throughout Southern Ontario.
In fact, local trail riding was allowed and available last weekend in about 89% of the 27 Ontario public health units (of 34 in the province) that have OFSC trails within their boundaries. Now the OFSC is pleased to report some additional riding opportunities. With the new re-opening framework easing into place, even more OFSC trails are becoming available again between Yellow or Green public health units. But note that in keeping with continuing provincial restrictions, any OFSC trail crossing the boundary of a Gray, Red or Orange public health unit will remain temporarily closed under the OFSC Flex Trails plan.
To date, the 2021 season is highlighted by numerous positive indicators for organized snowmobiling, including these signs of increased interest and participation (no final numbers yet available):
Smart Choice #1 For Snowmobiling Is Riding Available OFSC Trails
(Barrie, ON: February 11, 2021) – Snowmobile trails operated by clubs belonging to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) comprise about 40% of our province’s recreational trails, a network that continues to be the smart choice for where to ride your sled. Recent statistics provided by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) show that over 90% of snowmobile fatalities this season have occurred on roads, ice and unmaintained areas, and not on available OFSC trails. That’s one good reason why we’re pleased to welcome smart riders to over 22,000 kilometres of snowmobile trails now available for local riding this Family Day Long Weekend.
We want you to feel safe on our trails and arrive home without incident after every ride. To help, we’ve invited the OPP and other enforcement services to patrol our trails this weekend. You can do your part to safeguard your family by reminding everyone in your group of smart riding choices expected on our trails. There is no more important time to take this advice to heart than Family Day Long Weekend when so many families and new riders will be sharing our trails for a special winter outing. These smart choices include:
Who Is The OFSC and Where Did It Come From?
(Barrie, ON: February 4, 2021) – When Bombardier started selling snowmobiles in 1959, there were no organized snowmobile trails, so recreational riders just rode wherever they could. They quickly realized that random riding was not only risky and inconvenient, but it was also creating a considerable backlash from local residents and property owners that was giving this new activity a bad name.
First Snowmobile Clubs: By 1967, recreational riders looking for easier and more acceptable places to ride had formed clubs in many communities. Existing separately and independently from each other, these first snowmobile clubs had two primary purposes. First, to organize and maintain safe and legal local trails for their members to ride, and second, to serve as social hubs for local snowmobilers to connect and ride with friends and family.
Boundary Lines Assist Snowmobilers To Ride Locally Within Their Public Health Region
(Barrie, ON: January 27, 2021) – With winter finally upon us and thousands of kilometres of trails now showing either Green or Yellow on the Interactive Trail Guide (ITG) for local riding, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) has created a new tool to assist snowmobilers.
As of today, we have temporarily added public health region boundaries (blue lines) to the ITG on our website, which are visible in both Trail Network and Trail Status views. They will also show on the Go Snowmobiling Ontario Apps after your next regular data update. The blue boundary lines will help you to stay within your own public health region while riding available OFSC trails and enable you to plan your local rides more easily while complying with public health measures.
Together We Can Do This!
(Barrie, ON: January 20, 2021) – On January 18th, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) received the news that, effective January 21st, 2021, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (NBPSDHU) is temporarily closing all OFSC trails within its region for the duration of the provincial Stay At Home Order. This district stretches from Parry Sound on the shores of Georgian Bay, east to Mattawa on the Ottawa River, and from Novar north almost to Marten River. It also includes many OFSC clubs and their volunteers in OFSC Districts 10, 11 & 7 who have worked very hard to prep their trails and, in some cases, had commenced grooming operations despite a late start to winter.
In a news release from January 18th, 2021, Dr. Jim Chirico, NBPSDHU Medical Officer of Health, stated that: “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19. The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously.”