Argo Groomer

Snowmobile trails still dangerous

Jan. 1 – We would like to remind riders that West Carleton Trails are not yet open, which means they are unsafe, and riding on them constitutes trespassing on our landowners’ private property.

We are in agreement with The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs’ statement, urging snowmobilers to hold off on their first ride of the season until trail conditions improve.

“We’ve got a whack of snow, but the ground is still warm. There’s no base there,” said Craig Nicholson, a spokesperson for the organization. “If people were to try to go out, they’re taking some dangers in their hands because there’s a whole lot of irregularities on the bare ground.”

The ground needs to be cold enough to freeze the boggy and swampy areas in the region and hard enough to support to weight of five- to seven-tonne grooming machines. And there are rocks and stumps that aren’t covered and there’s no base to protect the machine from those obstacles.

Please trust that we, the West Carleton Club are as eager as anyone to get out and start grooming the trails and are also in the process of assessing signage that has blown down by high winds on Christmas eve. The Club will keep everyone posted. For now we all need to will the temperatures to help get all of those water crossings and swamps you don’t normally even know are there during the season to freeze up.

Time to prepare

Nicholson encourages snowmobilers to take this time to check on their machines to make sure they are running safely and to ensure they have a first aid kit, a survival kit and a tow cable.

“As much as everybody is eager now to get out, and I’m as eager as anyone else, you’ve got to be really careful where you go,” he said.

According to Nicholson, it might seem like this is a particularly late start to the season, but the past two winters have been much colder than usual.

He anticipates the trails will to be safe by the middle of January and suggests riders check on the status of trails in their area by using his organization’s online map before heading out.

Thanks, and we hope to see you on the trails soon!