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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Breaking News!!! No Northern Loop next season.

Last Sunday district 14  had a big district meeting, they talked about the past winter and about the trails, one big topic was about the C101F that goes from Timmins to Chapleau , the C101F is a big part of the OFSC trail system in the Northern Ontario as its on the Big Northern loop that takes you around from Timmins, Cochrane, Kapuskasing,  Hearst Hornepayne, Dubreuilville then Chapleau, its a popular loop and it seeing more and more traffic every season as more people hear about how good it is and when the winters are not too good down south many travel up to ride the big loop.

This Closure of this trail will affect my club and many other in the north, this will affect D-13 and D-15 as we also get the traffic going around,  75% or more of the riders we had this winter where people doing the Big loop.

I was told the reason why the |District decided to close that trail was because the Foleyet club no longer exists and they had one guy running a groomer all winter but no trail passes were sold....  I can understand why they are doing it, its a big section of trail to maintain, with no Foleyet club in the center to take care of the trail it give a lot more work for both club of both sides.  I hope there can be a good solution to this, I'm sure the OFSC will work hard on this over the season to we can have this trail back for next season that is 8 months away. We need to let the OFSC and D-14 about how this will affect our trails riding next winter, please comment on my blog and facebook page they do read my stuff, we need to get the word out about this, we need to show that people do care about this loop and that we need it.

It's going to be a busy summer trying to find a solution for this, I will keep you posted about this over the next few weeks and over the summer.

C101F trail to be closed next season,  From Chapleau (Left) to Timmins (Right)


  1. Well that is a shame. Myself and riding partners have already planned that loop to come and see you Luc, but be the sounds of it we may not be able to. - Bill Cudney

  2. Yeah I know, many people have been planning on coming up next winter and doing the big loop, it's getting more and more popular as its such a great loop. I want to get the word out. We need to find a solution to this.

  3. What if...and it's a BIG what if...we created a "toll" system for the big northern loop? If no one is there buying passes that means that most of the traffic is people trailering up from the south. Seems logical (sorry that's a crappy word but all can come up with) that some sort of user pay system for the loop would ensure it's survival. Sure OFSC needs to get costs and spending methods under control but with the damage to trails in the Algonquin region there will likely not be much funding left for the Northern Loop.
    If not user pay then perhaps direct government funding from the tourism budget? You would need numbers from all of the businesses that are benefited by the sledder invasion to present to the Government of course. Luc are you in close proximity to your OFSC District manager? Could the 2 of you try to schedule a meeting with your MPP before the government shuts down for the summer to at least bring the matter to their attention?

  4. northern communities are going to have to come to terms that if the local community and ridership as well as businesses cannot support organized snowmobiling than it can no longer exist
    we as a province cannot continue to subsidize areas that see occasional touring traffic, the reality is that less and less people every year and taking multi day saddle bag trip over long distances

  5. Jeff you say "we as a province etc." who are you referring to? One other thing in Quebec more and more people are doing mutli day back pack trips. Maybe the snowmobiling is better in Quebec because of BS like Luc is facing. All you have to do is go to a place like Temiscaming, QC or Ville Marie, QC and all you see in staging areas to ride from are lisense plates on tow vehicles from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Ontario and not just a few, there are times there are no spots left to park. Ever wonder why out of country riders would drive right through Ontario to ride Quebec and why Ontario riders go to Quebec to ride, maybe just maybe it is BS like Luc is facing and other unlikeable or stupid logistic decisions that OFSC makes. Rather than face the fact that OFSC is ill managed and over spending to help create this situation, maybe facing their own inadequate way to run a business like this would be a better way to face these situations.

  6. I can tell you the Tata board did not do this with out much thought but this club folded last fall and we tried to keep it open with one volunteer and paid operator . The groomer had a blown motor in early march so district had to spend 5000.00$ to get it out of bush. We have a responsebility to the other clubs in our district with no permits sold and no local support we have no choice at this time. And Chapleau club is in almost the same condition 18 total permits sold this past season with out the district payment many of the clubs in district 14 would fold. This may be for just this year but with out local support is it fair for the rest of province to pay to keep trails open for less than 200 touring riders when locals do not support system. THE SIGN OF THINGS TO COME!!!

  7. Bill Cudney - you reference "inadequate way to run a business" the OFSC is not a 'business' it is 220 some clubs whom make democratic decisions, some of which are based on business practices, some volunteers needs and some personal views and outlooks. When snowmobiling becomes a "business' and is run like a 'business' we will see without a doubt a less and less volunteers and with that less and less trails because private landowners will no longer be granting 'a volunteer friends organization permission' they will be granting big business permission and it will be viewed differently. My comment that references 'we as a province' refers to all other member clubs and permit buyers. Why do out of country and within country riders choose Quebec.... consistency of experience has historically been guaranteed in quebec, combine that with a culture that support the purchase of a permit, a culture that shuns not permitted riders and government and communities whom rally for legislated corridors and trail connections and you have success. If the local rider, business and government do not support organized snowmobiling in Ontario than organized snowmobiling will exist no longer. As JoeB put it above "THIS IS A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME"

  8. Jeff: Are you kidding me it's not a business, OFSC handles at least $18 million dollars in revenue a year and you are saying that it is run by 220 clubs, so that when it comes to an expenditure then the majority of the clubs have to approve it, give me a break, why is there a CEO and not being a business then who handles employee benefits, their pay cheques, their disciplinary when needed. Not a business wow if that truly was the case then everybody who buys a permit is an absolute idiot because under your statement nobody is responsible for anything, except for the 220 some clubs so by the majority they could just piss away funds and not be responsible. By your explanation of how OFSC is run would explain some of the lame brain things that have come from them. But I can tell you in all of my years in business and all of the companies and organizations I deal with I can't remember any of them who weren't in business.

  9. Sounds like the ofsc should learn from Michigan. Combined one big account for the cost of trails and maintenance. Divisions are split up amongst clubs and by mileage is determined how much is paid. One exception is the kewenaw due to far greater snowfall then the rest of the state so they are paid significantly greater amounts and vise versa for southern divisions.

  10. yes bill - the OFSC is run by 220 member clubs. Yes when is comes to expenditures the clubs approve this (trail fund) at each AGM.

    The OFSC has no CEO - the OFSC has a volunteer board president and Executive Director which overseas the operations of the provincial office which provides support and guidance to 220 some member clubs whom are separate corporations by Ontario law.

    Where are we today, we are at the para dime shift between a volunteer run not-for-profit recreational trail and social organization to a BUSINESS. Part of having a successful business is making wise operational choices based on the businesses capacity, revenues and client / customer demand. In the OFSC's case if the customer / client (includes joe permit buyer, businesses and municipalities) is not demanding trails in a certain area then why allocate resources here? In a business environment you wouldn't continue to sustain placing products on shelves if the customer was not buying them? much less if the business its self was not selling the product.

    hope my comments help everyone understand what snowmobiling is and will continue to face.

  11. You are talking trail funds that they look over what about the rest of the operational duties? The executive director is a paid position, is he the one who does the day to day operation, who looks after the employees of the association as well as the District year round employees, hard to imagine how many full time year round paid positions there are for a 5 month seasonal venture. From what I can see the operation really needs a complete overhaul you are correct about demand but when you can't keep up with demand you either have to do more or remove some of what is being done. For example if a club has plenty of funding but do a terrible job on the trails then it is time to close some of the loop trails in that area, so that at least some of them are enjoyable.

  12. There are clubs in eastern ontario with 200 plus members..... I have never seen or heard anything from OFSC that some of us need to support remote northern clubs to keep them going. We all ride northern ontario on trips so if you we need guys from southern clubs to support by buying passes from the northern clubs....just say so, Thanks

  13. I live in Michigan, our group has ridden in Ontario for more than 25 years. We have enjoyed the "loop" which includes the C101F trail. Without this trail there is no consistent way to make a loop including the northern corridor. It seems to me that the big problem here is the funding arrangement that OFSC uses to allocate funds. There needs to be a better funds sharing arrangement that shares the funds more equitably. Otherwise remote locations will continue to fold.

  14. as noted above the ED of the OFSC is the ED of a separate ontario not-for-profit corporation and as such does not manage / control employees of other corporations such as districts or clubs. Districts, associations and clubs are governed by their membership just like the OFSC and as such make decisions at a board level. Your comment does warrant discussion on the efficiency of all levels as there is always room for improvement. In your example you reference funding vs quality, knowingly as a reader of this blog that the quality and consistency of a trail depends on many factors including the time available from volunteers to perform the maintenance. In reference to quality and consistency it is an off road sport and I myself enjoy all conditions and take it for what it is, do I believe that a trail should be closed because of insufficient support at all levels... YES.............................. unless of course you are going to run it like a business and pay at all levels to develop a product... then I think the customer dictates demand, quantity and quality.. I say lets build a giant snow-x track with the groomers and street snow.. then we can ride all year :) Cheers

  15. Fascinating discussion of whatever business model the OFSC uses but not many suggestions on how to maintain the C101F as an OFSC sanctioned trail for the 2013/14 season.
    I'm still curious as to how much money is talked about here...minus the $5000 cost of the emergency evac of the blown motor groomer of course.
    I also understand the frustration with the OFSC and the inevitable comparisons with Quebec but I still say it's an apples to oranges comparison. If we could move the entire southern portion of Ontario to an equal latitude of Quebec, if the OFSC had the same funding model as Quebec and if we had the millions in Federal government money support for our trail network that Quebec has secured over the last 5 years then the comparison would be valid.
    Until then I think using Michigan as model for comparison might be more acurate.

    This is also a frustrating discussion to have without facts. Some numbers I would like to see before adding any more to the debate are:

    How many multi day passes got sold for use in the Northern Ontario region this past season?
    What is the economic impact of sled tourism on the region?
    How many sleds got licensed/insured in the Northern Ontario region over the past 5 years?
    Is there an overall trend in decline of sled ownership or just in permit purchases?
    Why have clubs seen such a radical drop in volunteer participation?
    Have all of those people relocated?
    Are they still living in the region but working 2 or 3 jobs to try and support their families and have no time to volunteer?

  16. Some great discussion on here, we need to come up with a solution.

  17. Are you kidding me about comparing OFSC to Quebec, OFSC can't hold a candle to Quebec let alone even start to compare to Quebec. The biggest problem is that the clubs, for example, like some in Muskoka, do terrible jobs maintain trails and being precise the worst is Do Yu Wanna and now that Bracebridge has a new excecutive this season they are right there with DYW, Cramadog is also one of the worst along with the group around Rosseau. Don't tell me to help or volunteer, have tried that over the years and these good old boys clubs don't want your help. We used to travel every weekend to Muskoka we now travel every weekend farther north in Ontario or we go to Quebec. Perhaps it is time for OFSC to fold as it is doing such a terrible job of having clubs do their jobs and giving the permit buyer the best bang for their buck. It is no wonder permit sales are down and will continue to go down until the demise of OFSC.

  18. I hope they do not close this trail! I have been trying to plan a group to do the big loop for the last 3 years. I have 5 other guys that have confirmed they want to do it next winter for sure however if the C101F is closed we may have to consider another loop. I don't see how it is fair to the small communities that rely on snowmobilers to keep them going thru the winter. As it is there is already a shortage of gas stations up there.

  19. Right now i would spend any effort on saving Chapleau as they may be next. At the meeting they were leaning towards closing this upcoming season. We had two years to save Foleyet and it did not happen unfortunately its a done deal. Then next is Elk Lake , Gowganda and Matachewan club, because they had to put in and cover most of the costs of the new #60,0000 bridge on the Top A trail between Elk lake and Matachawan they are broke with monies still owing for this year. With no start up money for next year and in the hole not sure if we will be there either.
    Old groomers that were down just as much as running with no money to fix. So take a look at the map if you scratch off Foleyet, Chapleau, Elk Lake , Gowganda, Matachawan.Unfortunately people only react when it goes away, sorry to say this is just the start of things to come.

    1. you have some going points, D-13 should be able to run one more season then if nothing happens it will be over for our district, you can ad my Club in that list, our bigger problem is getting volunteers, there nobody to help.. the second is well since there is not much volunteers there is nobody to patrol the trails so permits sales are low, we need a provincial STOP team to come up to the north.

    2. Yes enforcement is an issue but as you know most of which is our next door neighbors not the people traveling to our areas that need to be addressed.Volunteers is also a issue but we run our entire club with six people two groomer operators and the rest also have camps to run that cater to the snowmobile business so we have a vested interest in the trails. The people the benefit from the trails and use them should be stepping up. There should be a data base some where with business that support the trail system one way or another so the riders can support those business and boycott the ones that do not.There are far too many free loaders out there with the same attitude as the people that do not buy permits. And you are right luc at this point its about saving regions not just individual clubs.

  20. Scott Patterson4:22 pm, May 02, 2013

    Luc, I don't think FedNor funding would apply but you don't know if you don't ask....