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The president of our snowmobile club recieved a 5 page letter form the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association(SSA)on the state of our trail programs and permits. I read this letter this morning and was totally disgusted.

    I'll try to remember offhand some of the important stuff in this letter, as I don't have it on hand right now. Saskatchewan is in its second year with a mandatory trail permit program for riding trails. Money was givin from the government ($100,000 I believe) to start the program. The SSA stated that it would take approxamatly 5 years for the program to sustain itself and begin making money to go towards the trail system. The SSA asked the government for additional funds for grooming to keep the program moving. Instead of offering money for the SSA the government went out and purchased 3 new groomers for an area that has 300 km of trails. These areas are provincial parks and a trail permit is not required to ride there. Before the groomers were purchased clubs around the area were approached and asked if they would groom these trails for a fee which would be paid by the government. The clubs in the area had agreed upon this due to extra money coming in for their trail systems. The price tag on the three new groomers was $380,000. Thats alot of money to waste on 300 kms of trail, when there are two or three groomers in the area that could do the same job.

From my understanding of this letter from the SSA, the goverment has come out and said that they will not be supporting the sport of snowmobiling with any extra funding. Their explanation for this was that the money would be better spent in other places. The letter states some interesting facts and numbers. Some that I remember are what the government gets from the sport of snowmobiling.
1) 4.6 billion dollars from PST tax on sales of new sleds and accesories.
2) 5 million on gasoline tax from snowmobilers. Could be more

There was some others but like I said I'm going off memory. The goverment stated that rural Saskatchewan could most likely sustain itself with or without snowmobiles. Another important point was that the president of the SSA said he had been approached by numerous clubs accross Saskatchewan, and they have told him that they are selling their grooming equipment due to low funds. This will surely mean trail closures and I can imagine the impact it is going to have on small towns.
Our provincial government has no interest in helping us out. The Ontario premier Mike Harris has promised 5 millions dollars over three years( could be 5 million a year,not to sure) to go to the sport and He has realized the economic impact snowmobilers have on many small towns acroos Canada and the United States

We pay our taxes, we pay two taxes when we buy a new machine, we pay tax on the accesories and everytime we fuel up the sleds. We support the local economy with untold millions of dollars, but when we need a hand to get on our feet, the government kicks us back to the ground. Looks like in the near future I'll have to ride in Alberta, Manitoba or the States if I want to ride scenic trails. This is undoubtably sickening knowing that within 5 years and no assistance from the government our trails will most likely be gone. Well I guess they will sure miss all the money we dump into the community, then they will realize the good thing they had when it is gone.

I'll have to find a jod in another province I quess.  
 
 
 

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Mike harris is a snowmobiler him self so he sees on the same page as us.  

That letter is garbage.  I dont think it will happen.  But if it does they are hurting there economy more then the sledders.
 

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In my opinion ontario has a top notch trail system.Ithink it's around 32 000 km which actually outnumbers the highways

Our government sees how important sledding is to this province and that is great to see and if managed correctly it will only grow.My only fear is that with the governments added involvement is that they don't screw up a good thing  
 

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Sadly, I think now that the gov't is involved, they will screw it up in Ont.  I think the OFSC was foolish to get the gov't involved, just so they could enforce permits on everyone.  I realize there were people not buying permits, but far too often things get screwed up, when the gov't gets involved.

I hope I'm wrong, as our 49,000km of trails, are wonderful thing.

FishHog
 

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Thats 5 million over 5 years...my math tells me 1 million a year. We have already got the first million .  Most of it went to large programs like risk management ect. . Our club got a feul grant of about $3200   that is all that we have recieved directly to our club from the first million. There may be some more small things coming yet for us . The fist million came so fast with so many conditions it did not have time to be spent building bridges or buying extra groomers and such . Hopefully by next fall the ofsc will be a bit more prepared as to how to spend the cast and actually get it to the clubs or districts that need major improvments rather than spending it on web site development or some thing stupid.
Speaking as someone who is directly involved in a club and the effects of bill 101 , I hope next fall that most of this first year implementaion problems are solved . It has been a nightmare for some club executives. Just my 2 cents
 
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