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.