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Discussion Starter #1
This year those of us in Ontario have been bombarded by the OFSC's mantra, "relax, the province is going to enact Bill 101." Well, I checked it out on the 'net @ www.ontla.on.ca/documents/statusoflegout/b101_e.htm

I can't see how it is going to promote the sustainability of snowmobile trails. From what I can gather thru the mumbo jumbo is that yes you need a trail permit (duh) where to put it and who can sell it. There are also some safety issues include which I could add to but won't  
I think LadyK & Permafrost might be familiar with the "fleeing on sled" case near Apsley a couple of years ago. Maybe we could give that law a nickname  


How is catching & ticketing a few permitless riders going to help? The vast majority of riders buy their permit before the season. I guess now it is a lot easier to charge a permitless rider. Other than that & the safety items, I can't see any big windfall for the OFSC. People have said that the Ontario government has supported the OFSC with  a lot of money. I can't disagree with that. But, the way things have gone in Ontario this year, it would appear the OFSC has made a deal with the devil, with limited benefits (to the naked eye) for the average snowmobile.  

If there is anyone out there that could sort thru the Bill and translate it for us peons, take a shot at it. Also, feel free to add your comments too!
 

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One of the problems I see is when they charge someone with trespassing on the trail, the money will go to the province, not the OFSC.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have heard that too  
It would be nice to get the money out of the permitless rider one way or the other. I wonder if this is enough of a deterent?
 

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I agree that this was a "deal with the Devil", and it was almost enough to make me quit snowmobiling out of spite.
Why they would want to bring in another level of beauracracy I'll never know. To me it really seems like tearing off your nose to spite your face.
If there really is a shortage of money, (which I have a hard time believing) I think we need to look at getting ATV's involved. ATV outsold snowmbiles in Ontario for the first time in 2001, and the market is still growing. To ignore that potential is to bury your head in the sand.
 

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Here is a little insight as to why they enacted bill 101.

Up until this bill became law anyone who was caught on the trail without a permit could be find by a "trail warden" but if challenged in court they could not stand up as they had no legal grounds. especially in northern ontario where 98 % of all trails are ridden either on crown land or logging roads. It's idea is to try to ensure the survival of our sport and the only was for this to happen is to try to get some control of ppl either not paying their way or by driving like an idiot or not staying on the marked trails especially on private land. One focus is to try to give landowners a sense of security by having the ability to formerly "charge" ppl who do not stay on trail systems or run without a permit. Lets face it almost everywhere you ride..if we lose private land access we might as well find another sport in most areas of ontario at least. I dont know that this bill is the answer but i do agree that proper control of our trail system is imperative if our sport is to survive. If not the only place your gonna be able to ride "fast and hard" is to the end of your driveway and back..JMO..Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I know from when I was a warden, it was a known fact that trying to lay a trespassing charge was a waste of time. The OFSC got want it wanted, but what did the province want out of the deal? If we don't have anything to worry about, why hasn't the OFSC explained "clearly" the implications & ramifications of the bill? To me and other snowmobilers I know, it would appear too much is done behind closed doors, like the union I belong too. The membership never finds out until it's too late



Don't get me started on the ATVs in the off season. I know from when I looked after the land permissions for my club. The main reason we lost access to private property was ATVs going where they weren't supposed to be. In areas where the trails are on Crown Land, that isn't a problem.

I know there are a lot of ATVers out there looking for a place to ride. However, how would you like to go to your property during the summer and have to listen to ATVs all day? A lot of our landowners didn't use the property during the winter, but used their property when the snow went away.

If the OFSC trails were opened up, would they only be open to ATVs? What about the other off road vehicles such as enduro & motocross bikes, with their quiet exhausts (sarcasm) How about people with four wheel drive trucks?

Like it has been said before, be careful what you wish for.
 

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We have two different answers here, and two very different problems.
Rottie stated that in Northern Ontario the OFSC couldn't effectively enforce the rules because it's 98% crown land. Here, people can't be charged with tresspassing.

He later says that if we lose access to private land we'll have to look for another sport, becasue it's all private land.
Well, which is it?

One of the things I like about snowmobiling is that we can "get away from it all", and by that I mean get away from dumb beauracratic rules that are meant to protect the stupid from themselves. I want to go out and be governed by my own commen sense, and not some stupid rule (like a 50kph speed limit) that somebody thought would be safe for anybody, no matter how inexpirienced they might be.

You have to buy a permit to ride the trails, then once you have a permit you're not allowed off of the trails. There are just too many rules. Why do they threaten to "revoke permission" if I want to get off the trail along a pole line? What could it hurt?

As for the ATV's, revrnd, you have to realize that not all of us live in southern Ontario. We DO ride atv's on the OFSC trails up here, and it doesn't bother anyone. That's not going to help pay for trail maintiance though. I think we need to look at letting ATV on the trails in the winter, if, as I said, money is really that much of an issue.

And do you really think that people are going to be more annoyed with the noise from ATVs than they are with snowmobiles? Come on, a four stroke single is not nearly as loud as a 2-stoke twin or triple. I'm sure there were lots of people with attitudes like that about snowmobiles when people were first trying to organise a trail system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just want to make 1 more comment and hopefully, the thread will get back to Bill 101.  
I'll agree with you 100% on the ATVs on the Crown Land in the summer time. You can't stop them. Mind you west of Apsley there is a Lands for Life site which takes in a large area. The committee that drafted the usage rules for it were very down on the use of ATVs because of the physical damage they do to the ground. The said in their report that the legal use of snowmobiles on the existing trails didn't little damage to the ground.

Where my club is located it is predominately cottage country. Most of the landowners that we have permission with have no problem with the snowmobilers because they are not there in the winter. Three points to think about in the snowmobiles vs ATV debate:

1 A lot of where we ride in the winter time is frozen marshy terrain and come summer these areas are impossible to cross without causing enviromental damage.

2 For the most part a snowmobiler will stay on a trail because if they venture off the groomed trail they'll get stuck. When passing thru property on a trail when the snow is gone, this barrier to "roaming" is gone. It just takes one set of ATV tracks off the beaten path and then what?

3 Contrary to what some people think and I have asked the OPP about this, it is not legal to run on any raods in Ontario, like you can with a snowmobile. Most people are doing this because there is no enforcement of the laws. If the ATVs were allowed on the trails what do you do when the trail runs on a road, like in Haliburton?

That's my 3 cents.
 

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I guess the thread won't get back to bill 101 just yet  

I believe that the ATV laws were ammended last year to allow ATV's to run on rural roads if they had a working brake light installed, assuming that the operator had all the other necessities such as registration, insurance and a valid driver's licence.
And I think you're still missing my point about the ATV's in the winter time. I don't think people around here would start paying for a trail permit to use their ATV's in the summer time. In the winter, though, many people would pay to have trails to run their ATV's on. There would have to be some trail sharing, because the OFSC trails have already claimed all the pre-existing trails, logging and mining roads.

Back to Bill 101. I think it was very short-sited for the OFSC to support something like that.

Oh yeah, why do you think snowmobiles will get stuck if they go off trail? Do you ride a Bombardier??
 

Seriously, if you ever get a chance, go riding in Newfoundland. You'll soon learn that off trail riding is a ball.
 

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The laws state that only  ATV 's owned by farmers travelling from farm to farm can operate on the road . I was at a ATV meeting this week and that is what a rep of OFATV said. There is a bill before the Goverment right now called Bill 11 ( yes thats bill 11 not bill 101)that is dealing with getting ATV;s allowed on the road among other things. It has Royal assent but maybe as far as 2 year from being in effect. The main difference is ATV's and sleds are that the snowmobiles are covered under the Motorized Snow Veicle Act with the Province , ATV's are not ....yet... Contrary to popular belief snowmobiles can not ride on a road . It happens , there is lots of trails on roads but it is just one of those laws that don't get enforced. Clubs are allowed to have staked trail on either side of roadway in the road allowance ( ditches ) only if given permission by the municipality. Bill 101 is full of suttle little changes like that. I even have a copy of it here and went to a 8 hour course to understand how it affects us as a club now. I'm not going to get into detail on every point because it would just take too much time. As for ATV's i'm not against them , i don't own one or have any plans to do so , if it's your thing go have fun but don't screw it up for the rest of us that ride other types of machines. In the north they ride the same trails on crown land ...great what ever works . Here in the   banna belt of southern Ontario it is mostly private land, my opinion is that it will be almost impossible to get an interconnecting trail system like the sleds have.  If it happens great but I hope they go find their own landowners and build their own bridges and start from scratch like we did. Having  them both on the same trail would just cause too much problems . We in our club are lucky we only have 2 bridges and our trails run diagonaly in the feilds so they would be of not much use to ATV's.
There seems to be some confusion on trespassing and being charged under bill 101 for not having a permit. These are two different things. A warden can ( lol ) lay a tresspass charge but the cop that stops you will give you a fine ( no less than $200) for not having a permit, two differnt charges , and yes all money goes to the Province .
I am not a big fan of bill 101  and it does have it's flaws there are some things that aare still being worked out and more changes for next year, but it is the best we got and it is almost what the clubs of Ontario asked for. Remember it was the clubs of Ontario that asked to go to bed with the devil not the other way around.
There is rummors of the OFSC an the OFATV having some parnership as soon as this fall. Look for the word ...Trillium ....thats enough info for now......I have said too much ....lol
 

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</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (NewfieBullet @ April 10, 2002, 8:21pm)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Back to Bill 101. I think it was very short-sited for the OFSC to support something like that.[/b][/quote]
The OFSC didn't support it, the clubs of Ontario wanted to make  permits manditory on all trails including crown land . Thus the ofsc went to the province and asked to work out a deal , bill 101 was the best thing they could come up with. And the clubs accepted it last fall at the AGM so don't blame the OFSC blame the Clubs that wanted manditory permits ...and I will mention it was mostly the clubs in northern Ontario that wanted this.
 

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How many of you guys snowmobiled before the OFSC was formed? I remember snowmobiling before groomed trails and it was just as fun. Sure groomed trails are fun but its not the true heritage of the sport. The big miles, big speeds and now looking over your shoulder all the time for the heat, is it really worth it? There must be a compramize. The so called silent majority is making all the decisions when it seens to me the majority is all you guys, and i don't think any of you are agreeing with the 50km speed limit. Put away the dozers and go back to volunter groomer driving, keep the goverment out of the sport and maybe we'll weed out some of the candy --- that are killing the sport. These guys won't be happy until snowmobiling is like driving the family sedan on the 401. Just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I started snowmobiling in 1970 & back in those days if we went more than 20 miles in a day it was a big deal. Riding thru the bush, dodging trees etcetera. I'm still snowmobiling from the same area 31 years later. I can do a hundred & fifty miles in a day and be on several clubs' trails. When conditions are right we can go in 4 different directions. We've run on our own club's trails so much, we make it a point to get away and see some areas we may only ride thru once a season.

So, no I don't want to go back to the old days. Besides in the old days the government took our money (annual registration) and threw some money our way.

I can remember reading in an (I can probably dig it up too) issue of the Canadian version of Snow Goer around '82, that the province was going to grant us half a million for grooming. A friend of mine who's father worked for the MNR said that was a load of BS. I asked why, she said that the province was making a nice profit when you multiplied the number of sleds by the  amount (Anyone remember what the little coloured square sticker cost us?)we were paying.

Then in the mid 80s they went to the one time registration (like trailers). Now we're back to the annual registration plus a trail permit.
 

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Yeh, now we pay 10 times the the insurance, yearly license and a 150 dollar + trail permit, to groom mud. Keep put on those miles, the more miles the bigger the man.
 

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We dont care how much we have to pay.  We live to sled.
As for the fines going into big brothers pocket instead of the OFSC.  They are going to give us $1 million per year.  Im sure we wouldnt collect that much in fines in ten years.  This year the snow was minimal in my area again . We live in a traditional snow belt area in cottage country. What did we do, goto the snow. You cant wait for the snow, sometimes you have to go find it. The more miles you put on = less $ per miles.In Ontario we have 40,000 + of GROOMED trails other provinces and states are not so lucky.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Permafrost, it would be nice to see the actual figures of when we do get some money from the province  


Wilgy: How many miles do you put on your sled in an average season? My parents are in their 60s and during a normal season they put on close to 2000 miles, without trailering. My parents aren't speed demons. The old boy has a 2001 Super Sport and my mother has a Indy 340. No competition for the 'gades :))

I was exchanging some email with a guy earlier this season. He looks at it this way up to 120 kms,  it has cost him a buck a km. After that, the cost just keeps getting less.
 

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Two minor corrections in the last 2 posts :
Permafrost  : That's 3 million a year for 5 years not 1 million.
revrnd :   We have already spent the first 3 million. All reciepts for it had to be in the Goverment by March 31. Then the OFSC will send out the checks. Next Thursday I will be at a district meeting and there will be a guy there to explain the TTS program ( thats what they are calling the grant money ). I can give you an update after that. I do have a break down of how it was supposed to be spent but who knows what the changes have been.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Indy:I hope I'm not out of line here, but could you ask the OFSC guy (I assume) why the OFSC doesn't communicate directly with the membership rather than the dribs & drabs that we get from the club delegates & regional and/or district reps and a few statistics in the Ontario Snowmobilers OFSC section.

I have spoken to a few snowmobilers, the last couple of seasons who have said that if they don't get a copy of OS, it really doesn't matter that much to them anymore. That's pretty cynical or apathetic in my books.

Finally, we've been around this tree before, but I think a lot of us would like to know how the OFSC spends ITS portion of the trail permit money. And before someone tears a strip off my back, this isn't a shot at the individual clubs and volunteers. The clubs don't have a paid staff at a well appointed office  


I
 

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I'll add that to my list of things to pester the ofsc with . As for the financial statements for the OFSC , I was talking to the OFSC in Barrie this past week and all I could get out of then was to check on the web site , so far I haven't had time to do so but I will get my hands on a copy of their financial statement. Some clubs have paid staff .......
 

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Ultimate Snowmobiler, I put about the same miles on in a season as your parents. Not by choose though, between working, trailering and the lack of snow its hard to get out more. I have been sledding for 34 years though. Its just my opinion that spending that kind of money to keep expanding the trail systems in Ontario (especially using dozers) is a waste. I love snowmobiling too, but unfortinately i don't have a bottomless pocket book. It also seems that if your not one of the good old boys from the club, your voice goes unheard. I sled from my back door too when mother nature co-operates. That doesn't happen too often anymore.
 
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