OFSC Delivers Strong Snowmobiling Season Despite Challenges

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…

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OFSC Provides By The Numbers Overview of Organized Snowmobiling

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?

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OFSC Provides Good News Update For Ontario Snowmobilers

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):

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OFSC Provides Snowmobilers With An Organizational Overview

Today’s OFSC Operates Provincially in 3 Tiers

As its name indicates, The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs works on behalf of its member organizations. As everything in today’s society has become increasingly complex, organized snowmobiling has adapted. Over the years, member snowmobile clubs have approved organizational changes into three tiers of operations to deliver an integrated, inter-connected, provincial snowmobile trail system. Today, organized snowmobiling is supported by programs, services and assistance offered through local clubs, districts and the provincial association. Each of these tiers contributes towards a common goal and together, they comprise “the OFSC”.

Tier 1 (Local): Community Snowmobile Clubs of the OFSC – Working in partnership with their community and business stakeholders, grassroots volunteers with these local clubs still lead all operational responsibilities to deliver a snowmobile trail network within their area. From working with landowners to obtaining permission to occupy the land, to trail development, signage installation and trail grooming activities, community snowmobile trails remain dependent on local volunteerism by snowmobilers.

Each OFSC member club operates as a non-profit entity under the leadership of its local volunteers. Any snowmobiler who wishes to contribute to organized snowmobiling can join and be active in their local club to find out what’s going on, but buying a trail permit for a sled does not make its owner a “member” of any club or of the OFSC.

To find an OFSC member club, go to Find Your District on the OFSC website, select a district and go to their website. On their home page, you should find a list of their OFSC member clubs.

Tier 2 (Regional): District Organizations of the OFSC – Generally aligned to regional tourism or government boundaries, OFSC districts also operate as volunteer-led, not-for-profit corporations, to provide support to the OFSC member clubs situated within their region. In addition to leading the local delivery of provincial programs, districts deliver programs and services of common regional need to their area snowmobile clubs. District support may include an operational role with the securement, development, coordination, connectivity, maintenance and grooming of area snowmobile trails. Each district is led by volunteers from its member clubs who form its board of directors and executive, and also has at least one staff person to handle administration and paperwork for district clubs.

To find an OFSC district, go to Find Your District on the OFSC website and select a district.

Tier 3 (Provincial): Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs – Operating within its mandate of uniting snowmobile clubs across the province and providing them with a unified voice, the OFSC remains the volunteer-led, not-for-profit corporation formed by founding clubs in 1967. The provincial federation doesn’t actually occupy land or develop and maintain trails. Rather, its role remains to support snowmobile clubs and districts by delivering provincial programs and services of common need through a small team of professional staff operating year round out of its Barrie office.

The OFSC also continues to play the important provincial advocacy role with government and other stakeholders envisioned by its founding clubs. Provincial programs include: best practices and guidelines, educational information, tools and resources, insurance products, and access to assets and funding. The OFSC also delivers the Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permit program as the sole authorized agent for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) with all revenues utilized for MTO authorized expenditures towards the delivery of organized snowmobiling across Ontario.

The OFSC is led by a team of district volunteers elected by each district’s member clubs, who serve on its board of governors and executive committee. Confirmed by all club delegates at AGM, the OFSC’s board meets throughout the year to set strategic direction and policy, undertake long term planning, and oversee the provincial operations and budget on behalf of member clubs.

The Backbone of Organized Snowmobiling

Although local snowmobile clubs, districts and the provincial federation are separate organizations, these three tiers are the backbone of organized snowmobiling in Ontario. Each entity plays an integral role in what ultimately results in a network of over 30,000 kilometres of snowmobile trails, a fleet of 300 industrial trail groomers, and the generous contributions of 18,000 private landowners and 6,000 volunteers. Together, this snowmobile team navigates the labyrinth of government, industry, business, tourism and stakeholder relations necessary to make it all happen.

So when referring to “the OFSC”, you’re actually talking about all the people and all the entities involved in the “organized” part of organized snowmobiling. From the folks who prep the trails to your local groomer operators, and from volunteers who make decisions at club meetings to those who act provincially to support their efforts, the mission is to work together to deliver a provincial snowmobile trail system. Yes in 1967, local clubs founded the OFSC so snowmobilers could help snowmobilers – and that concept is still our focus heading into the winter of 2022!


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]

To view more OFSC news and releases: https://mailchi.mp/8620a2cef4df/industry-newsletter-sign-up/

OFSC Adds Public Health Unit Boundaries To Interactive Trail Guide

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.

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OFSC Urges All Snowmobilers To Follow Public Health Protocols

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.”

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