Due to the current situation we are going through with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec has decided to postpone the Open House weekend to February 27 and 28.
“With all the constraints and supervision that we are experiencing due to the management of the COVID pandemic, the Federation has made the decision to move the Open House weekend to the trails, which was to take place on the 16th and January 17, next February 27 and 28, to explain Michel Garneau, of the Federation. We will be communicating shortly with people to explain to them that their free access right that they have claimed for the event will be valid for this new date. Our website will be upgraded and a major advertising campaign will be carried out to signal the change to fans. “
As the only organization recognized by the government to represent snowmobilers in Quebec, the Federation had to make this responsible decision.
“We had to make this decision in accordance with the instructions of the government which asks people to practice outdoor activities individually. Basically, our business is designed to attract new followers. To initiate a new follower, we rely a lot on coaching and sponsorship, which absolutely cannot be done in the context of social distancing. We have therefore chosen to move the event, hoping that the conditions will be more favorable to its holding. “
It is true that to operate a snowmobile properly, you have to know how all the controls work, how your machine will react in such and such a situation, all of which must be explained very well. Impossible to do it two meters away.
Offenders on private land
Another issue that must be brought forward in these days is that of delinquents who allow themselves to travel on private land without permission.
“We hear of people walking on private land when the trails are not open. In addition, they circulate where there are no trails, explains the expert. We are fully aware that people are eager to get around with their snowmobiles. It should always be remembered, however, that you should never travel off the trails on private land. The rights of way are generously granted to us. The landowners who let us pass on their land know that they can suffer a loss of production on the corridors used by the trails. In most cases, they are snowmobilers themselves. They understand very well the economic importance of snowmobiling in their region. But that does not mean that they are giving carte blanche to snowmobilers to travel anywhere on their land. “
The attitude of these delinquents can endanger the survival of this unique hobby in many corners of Quebec. Recently, a producer complained that snowmobilers had circulated in his fields and that they had destroyed a large part of his strawberry plants. There was no snow on the ground. They were off the trail.
Take responsibility as a snowmobiler
For this old rider in the snowmobile world, if the amateurs want the network to remain the same, they must take charge and tell the offenders the problem of their behavior.
“They endanger the sustainability of our network. The day when landowners, who suffer too much damage because of these offenders, shock themselves and say it’s over, the very existence of many trails will be in jeopardy. I do not believe that any owner of private land would accept that one or more people circulate on his land and act as they see fit. The snowmobiling community absolutely has to take charge. Most of us know people who do this. I think it’s our role to send them the message that their actions are not without consequences. “
It is all a question of wanting to protect the integrity of the network of trails and access to the practice of the activity.
“If we want to ensure that our network is preserved in its integrity and that snowmobiling is only possible in remote areas, we must act. Respect for rights of way goes as far as that. We must not wait until the situation is irrecoverable. “
For off-piste enthusiasts, the expert mentions that there are sectors where the practice of this activity is permitted. They invite them to go there and have fun as they wish.
“To solve this problem, you should not rely solely on the Federation or club volunteers. It is time for all snowmobilers to help us solve this problem. “
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► Currently, there is no snow expected in sufficient quantity to allow the opening of the trails in general. On the other hand, some places may offer portions of trails, which do not present optimal conditions. So, before the situation gets better, and before thinking about going for a hike, you are invited to use tools such as iMotoneige or the trail conditions map, on the Federation website at: www.fcmq.qc.ca.