For the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec, being able to practice snowmobiling is a privilege that must be appreciated.
“The snowmobiling community has been very fortunate and privileged until now, because the government has chosen to keep our trails open, to let us snowmobile,” explains Mr. Michel Garneau of the Federation. This choice was made by the government taking into account that snowmobilers would respect the sanitary instructions. If the government finds abuse, because we are already hearing about some regions and establishments where amateurs do not respect social distancing and other instructions, that may change. The government’s tolerance level is very low with everything that is happening with our health system which is under pressure. »Snowmobilers must understand that the measures apply everywhere and at all times.
“It is not because we are in the middle of the forest that we are exempt from the guidelines and instructions of Public Health,” explains the expert. We must remember that the virus, whether in a shopping center or in a relay in the middle of the forest, it does not make a difference. It will be transported from one person to another, bringing about the results that we know. The transmission will be the same in both cases. “
Above all, we must not believe that the government will hesitate to close the trails. New Brunswick has just done so, for a period of two weeks.
“The government will not tolerate that in the midst of a curfew, certain snowmobilers display irresponsible behavior. Everyone needs to get their hands dirty and rally behind the social movement we are experiencing. We are in the midst of a pandemic. “
The police and the patrollers have very clear directives. If they witness a situation where the instructions are not followed, for example a group of snowmobilers who are in a relay without masks and without distancing, they will crack down and maybe even close the place. “It may well be that an infected snowmobiler will not suffer serious consequences if they catch the virus, except that they can become a carrier of the virus and infect people around them. The result can be very serious. “
There is surveillance and the consequences of thoughtless actions can go a long way.
“We have a shot to give and we have to do it all together. The fate of our activity is in our hands, explains Mr. Garneau. The government must not perceive an increase in the number of contaminations related to snowmobile activity. He will not hesitate to shut us down. As a snowmobiler, I want to ride the trails this season, like the vast majority of enthusiasts. We have no restrictions on the practice of our activity, but … “
Winter took a long time to set in this year. This had a direct impact on the opening of the trails.
“As I speak to you, I would say that only 55% of the trails have good conditions. The rest is considered acceptable and a good part is still closed. It is certain that regions like Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie offer very good conditions, due to the last snowfall. The best thing to do to get an exact idea of what’s going on is to go to the Federation trail conditions map. [www.fcmq.qc.ca]. “
If the trail conditions are found there, a lot of other very useful information is also visible. Icons will tell you about the state of ice bridges and waterways. Currently, there are problems in several places.
“The cold is just beginning to arrive, which is what explains the situation. You need a good thickness of ice to be able to ride a snowmobile safely. Above all, we don’t want drowning. Please do not venture onto a waterway unless you do so on a marked trail.
“Club volunteers are also snowmobilers who want to get around. As soon as they can do it, they will open their paths, because they want to benefit from it too. “
Unfortunately, as the weather does not seem to want to collaborate with heavy snowfall anytime soon, Mr. Garneau concluded the interview by reminding enthusiasts to drive around remembering that the trails are fragile. Too aggressive behavior can cause a lot of harm down the trail.