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

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Apparently they beat the numbers but didn't follow all of the rules, so there submission got thrown out. Way to go St Mary's.

That's great! I'm glad it is in Ontario. Maybe STV can praise the Science hill snowdrifters on their accomplishment! 

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So, just last weekend I spoke with a friend up in Hearst and we are arranging a couple of long weekend work weekends in the summer (dates not known at this time) but I will post any follow up here.  I have heard from a couple earlier in this thread who mentioned they'd be willing to help.  

 

Also thinking about putting a distance sign at the Science Hill Drifters Clubhouse (my club) giving the distance to the Manitoba border.  

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not trying to discourage you guys by any means but, before you get all gungho to get the trail cleaned up to hillsport from hornepayne or longlac.... it would be a good idea to make sure Gary from the hillsport Hilton would be interested in being open in the winter first. without him being open, there would be no fuel from longlac to hornepayne. hillsport is just a few homes at a railroad crossing... it is not a town or lots of people and businesses. gary is the only game in town with fuel. without that commitment, this will not work.

 

without a fuel stop at bambino's, it will be hard to make it from longlac to hearst on the old d107a, without people in the group carrying fuel for the group to make it to their next fuel stop. Denis can chime in if there would be a gas stop available at calstock, to get you to hearst or hornepayne.

 

 

there are logistics to be worked out, that would defeat the trail if it were put in, before it even snows. without fuel stops, lodging, for groomers and sledders, ect... it will be a tough go. it would be best to get the clubs and businesses on board together, prior to restarting this venture or, it could fail again. fail to plan... plan to fail.

 

Ski

Couldn't agree more. My question is: Where is the funding coming from? A few more permits are not going to make the difference. Funding distribution is a little more complex than that.

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How has Framework For Change that was passed two years ago at the OFSC agm impacted the far north ?

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How has Framework For Change that was passed two years ago at the OFSC agm impacted the far north ?

That's a great question and one that I really can't speak to in specifics. However, from where I sit, FFC has had little impact on how D15 conducts business. As a District we adopted our own funding matrix several years ago and seems to be working for us quite well. We pretty well had to, or there is no way some of the smaller "clubs" could have operated. I'm sceptical about your proposal, only because I've volunteered long enough to have witnessed the dissolution of D16. Like all aircraft disasters, it was the cumulative effect of many negative factors that led to the end....not just one club, or one person, or one event. Rebuild is not impossible, but will be a long hard slog IMO.

 

With the push towards building for tourism, and away from trying to build up clubs, you may have several factors going for you, especially if the volunteer base is just not there. Everyone bristles at the idea, but what's wrong with paid groomer operators? What is the easier path to get things done? Trying to recruit volunteers from a large area, thinly populated? Or just hiring a couple "Trails Employees" to keep things open and traffic flowing? Now you are talking tourism AND job creation. What's wrong with a new way of thinking about how we build and maintain trails?  Don't know what the OFSC would have to say about that, but paid groomer operators DO exist. It's not just an urban myth.

 

Get the local politicians involved. Our MP Carole Hughes (NDP) has been a HUGE supporter of our District, especially when it comes to project funding. It's been mentioned before, but the local business owners are going to be key. And get the neighbouring OFSC District boards involved. Put together a presentation and ask to speak at a meeting....even if it's via SKYPE. E-mails get buried and forgotten about.

 

We have a new District Manager now. Our District President is a guy with some vision. The Board is about to elect a new Governor and Operations Coordinator/Vice President.  Change is always good: new blood sometimes means a new way of thinking. Get our District board excited about what you want to do and, with this group, it just may happen. Who knows?

 

Sorry, kind of a long winded response. I admire your chutzpah and vision. Get your ducks in a row and go for it.

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Every single groomer operator in our club is paid.  In fact every operator in our district is paid, however, some choose to volunteer their time so they donate their wages back to their respective club. 

 

I was not aware that a separate Matrix existed.   I know for a fact the old Matrix does not. Our district just had its elections as well and I was elected as an alternate governor for our district.  I am very excited to be in this new role.  However, I decided to step down as Vice President of my local club.  I'm still going to volunteer tonnes for my club though.   Perhaps in my new role I will get a chance to see what other solutions are out there.  

 

Awhile ago our entire district (D5) became a single Permit Selling Entity, which drastically reduced our costs.   Just this past year our entire district voted to become one single grooming association.   This means the entire district pays groomer wages and fuel. In addition they pay groomer repairs and we do a large bulk order of signs and stakes.   The down side is each club receives only$15 per permit to cover its own costs but all costs are within the clubs control and the major ones are gone. However, almost every club here has a very dedicated volunteer base (not large mind you) who put in countless unpaid hours in labour for so many things.  To date no club has not been able to pay their bills.  As always fundraising needs to occur though.   One thing our club did this year was set a new world record for most snowmobiles in route. 

 

Because it is new, the district wide association has been a work in progress, but it is proving to be highly successful with sufficient revenue being received by the district to cover all costs and we are looking at possibly obtaining at least one new to us groomer with permit dollars from the district.  There may also be a reallocation of some groomers dependent on need and availability.    One thing for sure is that it allows neighboring clubs to lend a hand with grooming another clubs trails if they ask for it.   Under the old matrix this actually worked against a club, and was almost never done.  There is alot more to it than what I have written, but the point is there are creative ways to ensure that snowmobiling thrives.

 

It has really promoted collegiality amongst all clubs within the district.  I also know that district 9 has some grooming associations that operate much the same.  It is in this spirit of working together that I have started this thread and have had some very good response to date. Just today, I got message about the state of affairs of trail from Hornepayne to Hillsport.  

 

I am all too aware that it is ambitions, and quite likely will not succeed, but if we do nothing it is guaranteed to fail.  I ride the northern corridor every year in March and love it. Kap is actually one of my favourite places. I notice that you guys do an amazing job of sponsorship on the trail.  From a riders point of view I like it.  We have welded an adverising board to our groomers and rent out add space on it as well as in our clubhouse.   But I must say the ride from Hearst to Dub is absolutely awesome.

 

As for getting my ducks in a row I / we would appreciate all the assistance we can get whether it be in manpower or advice or whatever.  So far there has been interest from members on this site (even on from the US). as well I have had discussions with Dubreilville, Hearst, Longlac / Geraldton. 

 

The Federation began with just an idea afterall.  

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Good post, and congrats on your district position.  I am pleased to see that you stepped back from the board of your club because, IMO, there is a distinct conflict of interest when a district governor also holds a BOD seat at a club level.

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I have been following this thread with interest and if things work out extending from Hornepayne I am sure I will help out.  I can't help with past knowledge as I have only been in town a few years but can provide labor either for trail maintenance or grooming.  LondonCalling not sure if who you got the trail report for the trail to Hillsport from but if you want any contact numbers for either the President of the club here in town or the "Trail Guru" for lack of a better term (I believe one of the founding members of the club here, been maintaining trails since they were using alpines) send me a message and I can pass on their cell numbers.  

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The further north you go the less paid volunteers there are!

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Matt, if you know anyone who flies out of Hornepayne once in a while, maybe ask 'em if they can take a few pics from above, of the old trail to Hillsport, the first section closest to town ... I'd be curious to see how badly it's brushed in .... a birds' eye view goes a long way sometimes .... 

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Matt, if you know anyone who flies out of Hornepayne once in a while, maybe ask 'em if they can take a few pics from above, of the old trail to Hillsport, the first section closest to town ... I'd be curious to see how badly it's brushed in .... a birds' eye view goes a long way sometimes ....

Send in the drones!

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Matt, if you know anyone who flies out of Hornepayne once in a while, maybe ask 'em if they can take a few pics from above, of the old trail to Hillsport, the first section closest to town ... I'd be curious to see how badly it's brushed in .... a birds' eye view goes a long way sometimes ....

I could email Walter and see if he has flown by this trail lately?

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I have been following this thread with interest and if things work out extending from Hornepayne I am sure I will help out.  I can't help with past knowledge as I have only been in town a few years but can provide labor either for trail maintenance or grooming.  LondonCalling not sure if who you got the trail report for the trail to Hillsport from but if you want any contact numbers for either the President of the club here in town or the "Trail Guru" for lack of a better term (I believe one of the founding members of the club here, been maintaining trails since they were using alpines) send me a message and I can pass on their cell numbers.  

I was going to ask Matt to contact Denis in Hearst,  Denis and I are in frequent contact, and I am occasionally in contact with AkronOrange, and Viperrules.  I have also had some brief discussions with Longlac and Geraldton.

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The further north you go the less paid volunteers there are!

There are few paid volunteers anywhere here in the province.  Some groomer operators in our district are paid because we have found that a degree of accountability comes along with it.  That is all that I know of.  As I said several clubs groom on a volunteer basis and they donate wages to their club.  The pay is nothing that an individual can survive on, but it helps out with some extra money for farmers in the winter or seasonal workers.  Training is required and this is volunteer. 

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I'm not sure what I can do to help. Let me know if I can chip in somehow.  I did receive a message from Michel LaFrance, former president of the Geralton club, he is leaving the area because of a change of employment.  He told me he thought it would take several years for D16 to reconnect to OFSC.  I have written letters to OFSC, MNR and Ontario Tourism.  Ontario Tourism seemed most interested in keeping the trails to the north open.   MNR told me to contact OFSC and OFSC just reiterated the current trail pass policy.   I don't know who else might have an interest in having us spend our disposable income in the area.  I do suggest everyone interested in keeping the system alive; write letters to the applicable parties.  Send me a PM if I can help.  As I said before, I will come up for a long weekend to lend a hand reopening a trail or keeping one open.

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I've been in contact with a few locals trying to get a bit more interest in the idea, seems to be some interest in Hornepayne and Kap.  Still working up the courage to have a word with the club president here, see if he's got any interest in extending grooming West .....

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It's all about the Loops. A trail dead-ending in Geraldton/Longlac from Hearst will not fly. Loop it back through Hillsport to Hornepayne and we might have a chance.

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I've been in contact with a few locals trying to get a bit more interest in the idea, seems to be some interest in Hornepayne and Kap.  Still working up the courage to have a word with the club president here, see if he's got any interest in extending grooming West .....

Hearst used to groom the A107A to the Pagwa River Bridge, it was the other portion that was the problem.  I always thought they should reroute that portion to more closely follow the highway and avoid those areas that caused the trail a real challenge to groom.

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It's all about the Loops. A trail dead-ending in Geraldton/Longlac from Hearst will not fly. Loop it back through Hillsport to Hornepayne and we might have a chance.

X2 on this. Pat from Dub was hoping to open from dub to chapleau again and back to dub. Apparently they still have some local trails there, so this might be possible, but won't fly either without a commitment from Timmins to take over half of the trail to loop back there too.

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It's all about the Loops. A trail dead-ending in Geraldton/Longlac from Hearst will not fly. Loop it back through Hillsport to Hornepayne and we might have a chance.

Absolutely!  Last season was the first in a long time I didn't ride one of my favorite trail, A from Hearst to Hornepayne, the stretch just south of the old Bambino's is just spectacular, but there just isn't anywhere to go after Hornepayne.   Something needs to be done or trails will continue to close.

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There's Wawa & Dubreilville beyond Hornepayne, but that just makes you a longer there-n-back ride.  But yeah, if you're gonna saddlebag, gotta have loops.  I think a few of us agree that the priority would be to get a loop from Hearst - Longlac (or direct to Hillsport from Pagwa, easily done ... I know shortcuts ....  :D  ), then Hornepayne.  This would get the ball rolling pretty nicely.

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you just have to understand that the roads utilized from longlac to  hillsport, and hillsport to hornepayne are on logging roads, and each year those roads change,  some are used by RR, hydro, and loggers, and some are not, in the winter. generally in that area, they plow and sand most haul roads "incase" they decide to cut, or haul. makes planning trail prep, and man power, useless when the logging companies tear up the trail to do business. commerce over tourism will always win. Denis, I know you have had issues with the club prez in the past but, if you reach out, you tried, and they didn't capitalize on the opportunity. you could always go to the town meeting, and voice your concerns and show the support there is for these links, maybe the township will put pressure on the club to come around to their way of thinking, tourism is good. hearst could try to work with hornepayne to re-open the old A trail, and loop from old to new A trail making an awesome 200 mile loop. another option to think about.

 

as stated above, one way trails will never sell in this region again. you need a loop scenario to help your situations. the dub situation is easier to fix. chapleau should groom to missanabi, and then to halfway haven on the wilderness trail. with the soo grooming to halfway and Aubrey falls, and wawa grooming from dub to halfway, you have reconnected Algoma/Agawa, and have effectively made ALOT MORE day weekend, multiple day options for loop riding for locals, regionals. and out of province tourists for this region. also, In the big picture, you have now reconnected Algoma, with the larger ofsc network, and riders can do larger multiple day trips, from south to north... or vice versa. Ski

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I totally agree with skidooboy about Chapleau and Dubreuilville.  I do also want to make it possible for Thunder Bay to come east or from the Manitoba border.  Complete access from every direction into Ontario snowmobile trails. 

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I totally agree with skidooboy about Chapleau and Dubreuilville.  I do also want to make it possible for Thunder Bay to come east or from the Manitoba border.  Complete access from every direction into Ontario snowmobile trails.

Chapleau needs Timmins connection back though. That would increase the traffic since people wouldn't have to back track back to Hearst. If the D opens again next season then at lest it is a real loop again, mind you it will be one big loop.

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the chapleau to timmins run is 175 miles one way (miles, not kliks). with only folyette in the middle. it will take some serious  commitment from the locals, tourists, MUNICIPALITIES, AND BUSINESSES, with investment, in equipment, and manpower to reopen, and maintain that particular trail. in a perfect world that trail would re-open at some point. BUT....

 

baby steps are needed here now, not run a marathon off from the couch.

 

Ski

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