The OPP want to remind snowmobilers to ride safely and responsibly, while also respecting communities and landowners by remaining on the proper trails, according to a statement from the Bracebridge OPP on Feb. 22.
“The trail system in our area is dependent on the generous nature of the landowners who voluntarily allow portions of their property to be used for the purpose of snowmobile trails,” said the statement. “Stay on the marked trails, these landowners are NOT inviting everyone to ride freely through their yards, fields and forests, nor are they permitting use of their land for any other purpose.”
The OPP also said that the consequence for going off-trail on private property is a charge under the Trespass to Property Act and charges of Mischief under the Criminal Code if any damage occurs to property. In addition, landowners may withdraw their permission to use the land, which could ultimately cause the demise of the snowmobile trail system.
Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding recently posted online encouraging snowmobilers to ride responsibly and avoid further trail closures.
“If you ride – STAY on groomed trails – follow the signs and the rules otherwise trails will close,” Harding wrote. “In Port Carling we lost the C102D trail, the only major trail through town because people ignored this sign.”
The OPP are reminding riders to stay on the trails as closures in the Muskoka area “are a direct result of riders not respecting landowners” and due to the geography of the area, any trail closure causes obstructions for those traveling from town to town.