OVRT and “A” Trail Closure

Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail for ALL

There have been many posts and messages about the possibility that Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place councils might not approve motorized use of the abandoned CP Rail line, known now as the OVRT (Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail) through Almonte and Carleton Place. There is always a danger that people get tired of hearing about it and start to shut it out, but we really need every individual sledder and their family and friends to spend just a few minutes to help sway council decisions. Right now.

Why? The A Trail, our main corridor through the region is rapidly losing sections to urban sprawl and developments, and there are more sections that will be closed in the near future due to development. The A Trail will depend on the OVRT and will ultimately be cut off if you, the sledders, do not act now to ensure we get access this public corridor.  The only way that clubs can ensure that the A trail and similar trails remain viable is to share public corridors such as the OVRT. True multi-use trails (for all activities) work well in the other areas where they have been established, and with cooperation will work well here. More importantly if one municipality is allowed to exclude some users, others will follow.

What do I need to do? Despite the great business and social/economic case presented by BEAST and WCSTA representatives, it has become a numbers game. It seems to be coming down to who can send the most letters to the individual councils in support of their special interest. Non-motorized groups have been planning their attack long in advance, and they are way ahead of us in this regard. And, don’t be fooled, the number of letters received does sway councils. The case of the squeaky wheel gets the grease definitely holds true here.

We need you, your spouse, children and friends, sledders from across the District and the province to send letters today. Councils will hear us if we organize and speak out, as the other parties are doing. Many of you have already written letters, but we have several new places that need to receive them (see below).

If composing a letter isn’t your thing, please just copy/paste (and edit if you wish) the letter at the end of this post. Address it to the 2 emails below, and individual councillors if you like. Just add your name and hit “Send”. That’s it. Share this to every person you can think of, and follow up to make sure that they too have written. If we miss this opportunity, it will not come again.

What else? We need to show up in numbers (as the opponents will) Tuesday evening (April 4) as we present to Mississippi Mills Council. Once again, numbers count, and the recent Carleton Place meeting had many non-motorized supporters show up – that made quite an impact – with just a handful from the sledding corner. Wear your club shirt, jacket hat, or your sled colors. Make sure our club representatives (Scott Hamilton and Darin McRae) know you are behind them, and council knows how many sledders are watching the decisions they make.

Snowmobile clubs’ rail line proposal to Mississippi Mills – Tues. April 4th

Thank you.

The Letter:

Step 1: Please send at least 2 emails – 1 to each town at these addresses:


…and one directly to your councillor if you like

Step 2: Subject heading: “Motorized OVRT” or “Snowmobiles on OVRT”

Step 3: Add your name at the bottom of letter.


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing this email in support for the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail
(OVRT) to be established as a multi-use trail, including snowmobiles in the
winter time.

I understand that the acquisition of this corridor by the County of Lanark
was originally done under the premise of a multi-use trail (including
motorized vehicles) and feel it should continue along those lines.  Our tax
dollars are paying for it, so all taxpayers should be able to use this trail
for their own personal recreation.

I have been a snowmobiler for many years and can say with full confidence
that all users benefit from a groomed snowmobile trail. Snowmobile clubs
also have a great track record on multi-use trails in many areas of Ontario.

On trail snowmobiling is managed by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile
Clubs (OFSC) which means that the sport is regulated with trail permits,
operator licenses, insurance requirements, and pre-established speed limits.
The entire system is patrolled by volunteer trail patrol members and local
police agencies making it safe for all users.

I have recently read that both Montague and Beckwith Townships have already
endorsed the OVRT to include motorized users.  I would hope this would
continue along the entire corridor.

I trust that in your capacity as clerk you will share this email with your


[your name]

A Message from Eli El-Chantiry, Ward 5 Ottawa

Torbolton Forest

Since the December 29 snowstorm, my office has heard some concerns from residents regarding the snowmobile trails in West Carleton.

The snowmobile trails are not open for the season yet. The West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association (WCSTA) is responsible for the trails and are currently working on ensuring conditions are appropriate for safe traveling before they are officially opened for the season.

Even though there is snow on the ground the WCSTA notes that the trails are still unsafe and riding on them constitutes trespassing on landowners’ private property. Snowmobilers out beforehand are violating the law and the police can be contacted. Snowmobilers must also obtain a permit to use the trails. Please visit www.wcstai.com for permit information.

The WCSTA notes that the ground needs to be cold enough to freeze the boggy and swampy areas in the region and hard enough to support to the weight of grooming machines. There are rocks and stumps that aren’t covered and there’s no base to protect the machine from those obstacles. The WCSTA hope the trails will to be safe by the middle of January and suggest checking trail status by using their online map (http://ofsc.mapbase.ca/viewer/).

I would also like to stress to everyone that the trails are meant for everyone’s use. Pedestrians and snowmobilers alike need to be respectful of each other. Snowmobilers should slow down when passing pedestrians. Pedestrians should move off to the side of the trail to allow snowmobiles to pass by safely. As well, dogs must be leashed at all times, no matter if they are on a snowmobile trail, in the forest or in a park (unless otherwise noted). Please review the City’s Animal Care & Control By-Law NO. 2003-77. (ottawa.ca/…/respecting-animal-care-and-control-law-no-2003-…).

We have beautiful trails and breathtaking forests that are usable by everyone. Please be respectful of each other, so we can all enjoy the beauty that is West Carleton!

Thank you to the WCSTA for their ongoing hard work, and to the generous landowners who allow their property to be used during snowmobiling season.