Some trails closed after snowmobilers cross health district boundaries

January 28, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

While snowmobilers in the Orangeville region have had success getting out on the trails this season, other nearby clubs have had a tough time as many trails are closed to riding due to a lack of a good snow base. Some trails in nearby districts have been opened with limited results. 

If local riders want to keep riding they should pay attention to a recent decision in the north end of the province. 

Some trails have been closed after it was found that riders were trailering their vehicles to other districts and crossing over to health district boundaries. 

On January 18, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) received news that effective January 21, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is temporarily closing all OFSC trails within it’s region for the duration of the province’s Stay-At- Home order. 

This district stretches from Parry Sound on the shores of Georgina Bay, east to Mattawa on the Ottawa River, and from Novar north, almost to the Marten River. 

This includes trails in District 10,11, and 7. Those Districts have already been working hard to prep the trails with some starting grooming operations. 

A news release from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, said people moving between health districts is causing a problem. 

“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,” stated medical health officer, Dr. Jim Chirico. 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.” 

The OFSC said it will comply with the temporary trail closure within the region. 

However the OFSC has received permission from the health unit to proceed with limited grooming operations to facilitate OPP trail monitoring and other EMS support. This will also keep the trails ready for when they are allowed back out to ride. 

“We understand that this decision is in the best interest of public health and we will cooperate and close the trails in question,” said OFSC CEO, Landon French. “We also empathize with our clubs and volunteers who have put many hours into preparing these trails and are disappointed. We look forward to trails in this health district re-opening after February 11.” 

The OFSC said it was glad to learn that snowmobiling was permitted as a recreational activity in the province during the lock-down, but said they will comply with local directives. 

Snowmobilers are being reminded not to travel to any snowmobile trails that are outside of the local health unit boundaries.So far, there have been no complaints in the Orangeville district trails system and riders are following the rules. 

The Orangeville Club has been out on the groomed trails this year and are having a successful season. 

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