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Some trails closed after snowmobilers cross health districts

January 28, 2021   ·   0 Comments

It’s been a tough season for some snowmobile clubs after a lack of snow caused many trails to be closed for riding.

Some trails in nearby districts have been opened with limited results.

Now some trails in the northern part of the province have been closed after it was found that some riders were trailering their vehicles to other districts and crossing over 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 its 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.

The Alliston Snowmobile club has not yet been able to open trails this season after a lack of snow made it difficult to create any kind of base on the trails.

Snowmobilers are being reminded not to travel to any snowmobile trails that are outside of the local health unit boundaries.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter



         


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