The Gleaner
Agriculture

Snowmobilers must stick to trails

This week, the Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie (UPA) launched an awareness campaign to remind people of the rules which allow sustainable coexistence between farmers and snowmobilers. The arrival of winter, combined with the popularity of snowmobiling, has necessitated a reminder of the rules agreed upon by the UPA and the Federation des clubs de motoneigistes du Quebec (FCMQ).

“We would like to remind snowmobilers that off-trail traffic and encroaching on private land is an unacceptable practice that can cause significant damage to land and crops,” says Jérémie Letellier, president of the UPA.

 

The UPA and local snowmobile clubs are reminding snowmobilers to stay on the marked trails this season PHOTO Fédération de lUPA de la Montérégie

 

Snowmobile clubs in the region also support this message. “Snowmobilers have to stay on designated paths; if not, we’ll lose our right to pass through at all,” says Yves Thibeault of the Club motoneige Lac St-Francois. “We have a good relationship with [local farmers], and we need to keep it that way.”

The clubs put a lot of work into their trails and the snowmobile community – in fact, the Lac St-Francois club just erected a cabin with a wood stove along its longest trail, to provide snowmobilers with a place to warm up along the way. It is thanks to the clubs’ collaboration with local farmers that snowmobilers have a thriving network of organized trails through the region.

To support its messages, the UPA is currently distributing signs to farmers with a simple and precise message: “For Sustainable Coexistence – Take the Trails.”

“I would like to point out that the practice of snowmobiling on private land is made possible through a partnership with agricultural producers who agree to allow trails on their land,” says Letellier. “Despite the excellent collaboration of snowmobile clubs and the repeated instructions to snowmobilers, some of them forget that snow cover often harbours sensitive crops.” A positive working relationship between farmers and snowmobilers ensures healthy crops, and a thriving snowmobile community.

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