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OFSC urges snowmobilers to 'treat Mother Nature respectfully'

Tips for National Snowmobile Environment Month
File photo

It's National Snowmobile Environment Month, and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is reminding trail riders that snowmobilers have a collective interest in keeping nature beautiful.

To do so, riders must snowmobile responsibly to foster a safe environment by protecting and preserving our land, forest and fauna, according to a media release from the OFSC. This proactive behaviour will help ensure that future generations can enjoy recreational riding on OFSC prescribed snowmobile trails for years to come.

National Snowmobiling Environment Month also celebrates the ongoing stewardship accomplishments o member clubs and volunteers. These ongoing initiatives include effective trail planning to protect sensitive habitats and species, to control erosion, to protect rivers and streams with bridges and culverts, plus activities such as seeding, tree planting, working with provincial ministries and environment groups, and ongoing education and outreach efforts within the snowmobiling community.

“We are stewards of the trails we have the privilege of enjoying each winter,” said Ryan Eickmeier, chief executive officer of OFSC. “It is our collective responsibility to ensure we can continue to coexist with the natural environment in which we ride, and all that inhabit it.”

To snowmobile responsibly, every rider must make a personal commitment to treat Mother Nature respectfully and be sensitive to surroundings on every ride. Keeping nature beautiful means being responsible to stay on the trail: The OFSC reminds snowmobilers that the safe environmental choice is to stay on the trail. Trail riding minimizes any impact on the natural setting, while also not disturbing crops and livestock. OFSC trails exist to provide defined and organized corridors that are safer for riders and for the environment, while minimizing any damage caused by random off-trail riding.

Only ride available trails: Shown in red on the OFSC interactive trail guide, unavailable trails are not yet ready for snowmobile travel. The reasons for a trail being unavailable to ride include insufficient frost and snow to protect the ground, swamps, bogs and creeks not being frozen, and clubs still working to complete the required trail preparations for safe and environmentally friendly sledding.

Respect sensitive areas: Snowmobilers should avoid environmentally sensitive or protected habitats by sticking to OFSC trails.

Protect wildlife: Animals are more vulnerable in winter, so keep your distance and leave them alone.

Leave tracks, not trash: If you had space to bring it in, then respect nature by carrying it out with you.

Embrace best available technology: New advanced technology snowmobiles run more efficiently and effectively, use less fuel and oil, operate with virtually no smoke or smell, and run quieter.

Maintain your sled: A well-tuned snowmobile is more environmentally friendly, reliable and safer to ride.

Leave it stock: Installing aftermarket pipes on your sled is not only illegal, but also creates unnecessary noise pollution that disturbs wildlife and humans.

OFSC trail riding takes place in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural environment that we all enjoy and share. Keeping nature beautiful during every ride depends on the personal decisions and smart choices made by each snowmobiler to make OFSC trails as safe as possible for Mother Nature.