Snowdusters Club to have trails in place Island-wide this season

GORE BAY—The Manitoulin Snowdusters Club wants to get the word out that they are still very much in business, as they ready for this winter’s snowmobile season.

“We need to get the word out that we are still in business, we will have trails open around the Island and we have a good product (for snowmobile enthusiasts),” stated Brad Middleton at the Snowdusters monthly meeting last week.

“We’re going to have trails in place,” emphasized Rick Bond.

This good news comes after there had been some concerns earlier this year, relating to some property owners closing off access to their land to the Snowdusters out of concerns raised over the provinces’ Bill 100 potential impact on landowners’ rights.

The club board members looked at a list of landowners and trails and unresolved trail closures at their meeting last week. The list includes nine properties that the Snowdusters have been in discussion on with property owners around the Island. While a couple of property owners have continued to indicate they will not allow the Snowdusters access to their property, alternative trails have been put in place, and other property owners have come forward to provide their property. It was pointed out at the meeting since Bill 100 was passed, to alleviate some of the landowners concerns, the Snowdusters had provided more information on the legislation at a landowner’s appreciation meeting earlier this summer and some landowners have come on board.

“We will try to get as many new trails in place, along with the current routes,” said Mr. Bond. “In some cases we needed to come up with alternative routes (for trails).”

Mr. Middleton said that on the trail license permits with landowners, more freedom is being allowed to tailor the permits to what the landowner wants.

“We are trying our best to have a full loop of trails around the Island that all join,” said Mr. Bond.

“Things have really improved since Bill 100 was originally proclaimed and we held our information night,” said Mr. Middleton.

It was noted by Sue Middaugh that, with alternative routes having to be used by the Snowdusters for trails, “in some cases we’re going to have to cross roads.” It was suggested that the club should put in place an education blitz to alert trail users of these changes.

On another issue, Mr. Middleton explained snowmobile trail permits can only be bought online this year in Ontario. “So you won’t be able to buy trail permits locally.” He said that for local users of trails, when they purchase a trail permit they click on the Manitoulin Snowdusters online as the club for which they are purchasing the trail permit.