Did you love playing in the snow as a youngster? Most of us did, but something strange can happen as adults. Snow can become enough of an inconvenience to cause winter cottage closing, seasonal hibernation, or southern escapes.
Luckily, that doesn’t happen to all of us. Thanks to being in the Kawarthas or Haliburton, we’re still snow aficionados, or have become so again. So, we spend each winter exploring our extensive snowmobile trails with family and friends.
From the Kawartha Lakes to Haliburton and Bancroft, member clubs of the non-profit Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) operate this seamless, interconnected network of winter trails. These groomed corridors criss-cross our region’s hinterlands – planned and organized to link our communities and provide access to fuel, food and lodgings services. Yet they are only a small part of the over 30,000 kilometres the OFSC offers across the province. It’s one of the world’s largest recreational trail systems, with more kilometres than our provincial highways.
Today’s OFSC trails are a far cry from the trapper’s trails and goat paths old timers remember. They are re-surfaced regularly by heavy industrial grooming equipment, similar to what’s used on ski hills. For easy wayfinding, they’re marked with traffic, destination and services signs, reflective field stakes and intersection map boards.
These snowmobile trails are also mapped on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide (ITG,) found on their website, and on a free Go Snowmobiling App for your mobile device that can be upgraded to a Go Snowmobiling PRO version. With these tools you can see, zoom in on, and download the routing, trails, towns and connections to plan your ride. What’s more, most OFSC districts (we are in Districts 2 & 6) offer printed trail guides available through local snowmobile clubs.
This amazing winter asset doesn’t just happen by chance. Generous landowners contribute by allowing an OFSC trail on a designated section of their property. Hundreds of local volunteers donate their time, effort and skills to prepare and operate the trails in our region every winter.
It’s a partnership that results not only in great trails for our recreational riding, but also provides winter business opportunities and employment for our friends and neighbours. As required by Ontario law, snowmobilers can access any available OFSC trail with an affordable Seasonal, Classic or Multi-Day Snowmobile Trail Permit, also through the OFSC website.
So what are you waiting for? Just like that kid in the snow, come play on OFSC trails in your own backyard this winter!
Learn More About Trail Riding At:
Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs – www.ofsc.on.ca
Intrepid Snowmobiler – www.intrepidsnowmobiler.com
Story & Photos by Craig Nicholson, The Intrepid Snowmobiler