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ONE CLUB AT A TIME: A PROPOSAL TO RECONNECT ALL OF ONTARIO

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Here in the south we have the population (and yes we have amazing riding too)       The north has a longer and more predictable riding season.

 

I propose a muti-year partnership between the north and south as follows.

 

*  I'm hoping that one year at a time, we connect one more club to D16.    ( the interactive map would extend just a little further each year )

 

Repeat this until D16 is alive again.  example:  (Dubreuilville to Marathon  177 km     Marathon to Terrace Bay   82 km  or  to  Schreiber  96 km  

                                                                              Schreiber to  Nipigon    91 km        Nipigon  to   Thunder Bay  120 km)  all highway distances

 

Geographically speaking this can easily be accomplished, its the manpower that is the hard thing. I know Dubreuiville would love to connect to Marathon.(both clubs already exist)   Marathon west to Nipigon would be a challenge as there is no club in that area        Nipigon getting around to connect to Thunder Bay trails would be somewhat of a challenge.

 

Having less than 200 km of trail to maintain is sustainable even for a small club if they only have one trail to maintain.

 

Once this has proven sustainable, it may spark interest along Highway 11 and maybe be able to be funded by riders from up there. 

 

 

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I buy two permits every year and I'm willing to buy one of those permits from a club in D16 and will try to convince 49 others to do the same.  I know there are others who buy at least one permit from a club in the north.

 

 I believe in the short term, one trail would be sustainable.  Its a start and worth a try in my opinion.   

 

 (no off shoots or side or club trals should be maintained by OFSC permit dollars until it can be proven with a business plan that it is sustainable.  For strictly financial reasons this one trail might only need to be groomed once a week, maybe less.  With todays suspensions and fuel economy, it does not need to be table top.  It will receive less traffic anyway.  Distances are easily travelled.  The infrastructure is already there and as it stands runs very close to the Trans Canada Highway which can used to make access trails for gas and food only.  We have one here accessing  the 401 the busiest highway in the province , I am aware that trails will need a lot of work to get them back in place.    ONE TRAIL FOR NOW, IN THE FUTURE IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO HAVE ONE ALONG 11 AND ANOTHER ALONG 17 LIKE THERE USED TO BE)     Seems to be a lack of towns along Hwy 11

 

Under the recent "FRAMEWORK FOR CHANGE" I believe this is very possilble ( a grooming association such as the one I belong to in District 5 or the ones in District 9 that are in existence could further reduce cost and effort)

 

If I can get 49 others on board I will get this started.  I know from being there, Dubreuilville has interest.  This is a great place to start.

 

Who's with me.  Can we set a goal of 2020 to connect the province.  ONE CLUB AT A TIME    Give me 49 more names and your comittment and lets see if we can make it happen. 

 

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Having just come back from riding in Dubreuilville and having a great time, I was already planning on buying one of my two two passes next year( I usually buy one from my home club and change every year my second one to a club close by) from Dubreuilville, so I like your idea and hopefully it can get some traction.  

 

Add my name to your list, 48 to go.

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I am, and always have been with you.  My riding partner and I have been buying our permits from D16 for years.  Mike Lafrance the President of the Geralton club has been working hard to get some trails to D15 re-established.  I understand he and a group recently rode the old A107A trail from Longlac to Hearst.  As I recall, those trails really do not need frequent grooming, there isn't nearly as much traffic and the trails are less technical than those found in the south so there aren't as many corners that get beat up.  It would be outstanding if "A" from Hornepayne through Hillsport into Longlac could reopen along with the old A107A, this makes for a great 2 or 3 day loop.

 

"D" trail north of Superior was a tough trail mostly along the hydro line.  It was great being able to ride from Wawa to Marathon then west to Terrace Bay or north to Manitouwadge, but those were tough trails to groom with little traffic. 

 

I have said, and been admonished for, saying the north really is the long term future of snowmobiling in Ontario.

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Great ideas, but...

You'll still need to convince the locals (of which there are fewer that snowmobile than there used to be) that buying a permit, and volunteering is worth it. One trail? Pretty boring if you're living here. It's one of the many reasons the whole thing fell apart in the first place up here. Personally, I'd love to see it, but there are so many road blocks. West of Marathon, the trail is remote and not used for long enough that the MNRF would likely treat it as establishing a new trail, which will be brutal. Many of the bridges have seen no maintenance for at least 5 or more years and are in God knows what condition. I am personally aware of at least 3 smaller bridges that have failed and the MNRF is planning on removing them. I support this, would likely assist, but the logistics are pretty huge. Good luck

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I like the idea Rick, for example just connecting Hornepayne to Hillsport, would make a quick connection from Hearst to Longlac via Hornepayne.  From Hillsport to Manitouwadge isn't a tough run either, with all the logging roads there, even Hornepayne to 'Wadge for that matter.  There are connections that can be made from one town to another with minimal overhead and equipment purchase.  (I'd be curious to know how the Longlac - Hearst ride went .... I'll try to get some info, it would be relevant here.)

 

No promises on commiting to an extra permit purchase (I've got 3 already) but you'd certainly get 100% of my moral support !

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Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that more permit revenue means a correspondingly smaller equalization payment from OFSC.

Edited by Blake G
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I think that getting Chapleau going again and completing the loop through to Timmins or Wawa to Searchmount would make a lot more sense than going further west.

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Great ideas, but...

You'll still need to convince the locals (of which there are fewer that snowmobile than there used to be) that buying a permit, and volunteering is worth it. One trail? Pretty boring if you're living here. It's one of the many reasons the whole thing fell apart in the first place up here Personally, I'd love to see it, but there are so many road blocks. West of Marathon, the trail is remote and not used for long enough that the MNRF would likely treat it as establishing a new trail, which will be brutal. Many of the bridges have seen no maintenance for at least 5 or more years and are in God knows what condition. I am personally aware of at least 3 smaller bridges that have failed and the MNRF is planning on removing them. I support this, would likely assist, but the logistics are pretty huge. Good luck

 

 

Many people fail to see that, who wants to ride the same trail or just cater to tourist

 

You need volounteers and there is just is not enough up there

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Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that more permit revenue means a correspondingly smaller equalization payment from OFSC.

While you might be correct , no permit revenue means no club and no trail,  Framework for Change has made it so clubs actually get paid when they groom ( sort of )  It is more complicated than this but far less complicated than the Matrix system that used to be in place that gave no benefit to helping out a neighboring club and promoted bad practices.

 

Even clubs who sell many permits always want to sell more.  

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I think that getting Chapleau going again and completing the loop through to Timmins or Wawa to Searchmount would make a lot more sense than going further west.

I agree that this is very important, but what I propose for step one is connect Ontario to Manitoba and Quebec and the U.S.    Build a superior product.   Having something to brag about first and then the second step is get pre-existing loops to re-open.  Lets tap into external revenue or at least explore to see if any comes in and hopefully we can use external revenue to help fund the loops.  Loops are always better. 

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Many people fail to see that, who wants to ride the same trail or just cater to tourist

 

You need volounteers and there is just is not enough up there

You are right.  We all know that.  But I can't give up and all that I can do is allocate my permit and committ to riding these trails as well as my own.  It's a start.  Our club which managed to get 847 sleds out to attempt a world record tap into the local high schools to provide students with their mandatory volunteer hours.  It's a win win for us. 

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I am, and always have been with you.  My riding partner and I have been buying our permits from D16 for years.  Mike Lafrance the President of the Geralton club has been working hard to get some trails to D15 re-established.  I understand he and a group recently rode the old A107A trail from Longlac to Hearst.  As I recall, those trails really do not need frequent grooming, there isn't nearly as much traffic and the trails are less technical than those found in the south so there aren't as many corners that get beat up.  It would be outstanding if "A" from Hornepayne through Hillsport into Longlac could reopen along with the old A107A, this makes for a great 2 or 3 day loop.

 

"D" trail north of Superior was a tough trail mostly along the hydro line.  It was great being able to ride from Wawa to Marathon then west to Terrace Bay or north to Manitouwadge, but those were tough trails to groom with little traffic. 

 

I have said, and been admonished for, saying the north really is the long term future of snowmobiling in Ontario.

How can I get in contact with Mike so I can get my permit dollars to the club who will connect the two ?   As much as I don't want to take away from my club, as VP it sets a bad precedent, but a few here and there from clubs in the south will provide us with additional riding locations.  I love this past time.  

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Are you sure this isn't a call for over-extending a trail network beyond the capability to support it?

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Are you sure this isn't a call for over-extending a trail network beyond the capability to support it?

Possibly, but I am more inclined to believe that if we don't do something to stop the shrinking trail system, we will lose the whole thing.

 

I think it is a great idea LC!

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You may be right, but it seems to me that demographic and economic realities often require decisions such as school closures, changes in airline routes, dealership consolidations, etc.,  to ensure the survival of systems.

Edited by Blake G
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You may be right, but it seems to me that demographic and economic realities often require things such as school closures, changes in airline routes, dealership consolidations, etc.,  to ensure the survival of systems.

 

A periodic rationalization is required by any entity to sustain itself. Status quo or what was must be because that is the way it always has been doesn't work. The biggest key factor that I seem to recall was lack of volunteers as these areas were shutting down. The die hard volunteers were getting older, burning out and retiring their efforts in the face of a lack of support from new volunteers stepping up and from lack of permit buyers.

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Yet another issue, not mentioned here so far: getting the municipalities and businesses on board. It's not just selling more permits. If you can't convince the local government, gas station owner, motel/restaurant owner, etc.  that it's good for business then it's a no-go. I think some of the smaller towns up here are hesitant to embrace tourism, almost in a self-effacing way. They seem to understand the fishing and hunting side of things, but when you speak about winter tourism it's like, "Really?? We don't have a ski hill....".

 

Ask yourself: why isn't Hillsport open anymore? What about all those closed road-side motels north of Wawa? Your idea is a good one, but you are going to be asking many people to take gigantic leaps of faith with no certainty of any returns. And when it comes to business, it's always about "what's in it for me?"

Edited by volunteer15
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I like the idea, don't give up hope.

 

I will also purchase a permit in D16. I am not loyal to any club since I ride them all. I will volunteer where I can when they need help in my local area trails.

 

Why can't the northern remote trails have part time paid staff? Students taking courses in forest management, heavy equipment operators, surveying, etc. could be paid in an Ontario Works program to aid in their skills and pad their resume. 

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Sled sales are up in the north, more people are getting back into snowmobiling, higher paying jobs in the mining industries are helping this, those working in the mines only work 6 months out of the year as most are on 7on7 off so they are looking for things to do. We have increased club volunteers this year because of this. 

 

Thank you all that have been buying a trail permit from our small club  Dubreuilville Alouettes  D-13  without you guys we might not be open.  it's the support of you guys that kept us open in the hard times.... By buying permits to coming up and riding the trails.   just coming up here and riding the trails it helps us....  We see traffic, Motels, restaurants, gas stations gets the business, they stay open and that help the club. 

 

Thank you again and hoping to to still have your support this fall when you buy your trail permits for 2016 season.

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Just finished a tour of the north and was very impressed.

Keep up the good work.

The group I was with had this very discussion with regards to buying a permit from the north as we sat at warm up shack north of Dubreuiville.

It was a no brainer for us and we would be on board to buy a permit from the north.

Myself I would buy it at the snowmobile show so I could shake the hand of the volunteer from the club and tell them how much I enjoyed their trails this year.

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unfortunately I didn't make it to Dub this year, but I've been buying my permit from them for years.  The 100mile loop is my all time favourite trail in Ontario and they will keep getting my money as long as I'm in the sport and they are still running the club.

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Are you sure this isn't a call for over-extending a trail network beyond the capability to support it?

No it isn't.

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A periodic rationalization is required by any entity to sustain itself. Status quo or what was must be because that is the way it always has been doesn't work. The biggest key factor that I seem to recall was lack of volunteers as these areas were shutting down. The die hard volunteers were getting older, burning out and retiring their efforts in the face of a lack of support from new volunteers stepping up and from lack of permit buyers.

Try to engage your local high school if you have one.  Reach them young.  Our students much prefer trail work over working in a seniors home. ( although they need support too )

 

Where there's a will there's a way/

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Yet another issue, not mentioned here so far: getting the municipalities and businesses on board. It's not just selling more permits. If you can't convince the local government, gas station owner, motel/restaurant owner, etc.  that it's good for business then it's a no-go. I think some of the smaller towns up here are hesitant to embrace tourism, almost in a self-effacing way. They seem to understand the fishing and hunting side of things, but when you speak about winter tourism it's like, "Really?? We don't have a ski hill....".

 

Ask yourself: why isn't Hillsport open anymore? What about all those closed road-side motels north of Wawa? Your idea is a good one, but you are going to be asking many people to take gigantic leaps of faith with no certainty of any returns. And when it comes to business, it's always about "what's in it for me?"

I absolutely agree.  It is no easy task, or it would have already been done.  But if there's interest in the south and interest in the north, let's give it a try.  I admire what the Kapuskasing club has done to advertise hotels and other establishments.  North Bay and Mattaw are other great examples.   

 

If I could come up during the winter to offer man power, I would.  All I can offer is the purchase or permit, maybe even both of them, and to promote as much as I can our ENTIRE TRAIL SYSTEM

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