Jan 31, 2013- 10:43 AM
I read with interest the letter from Craig Hall and find that several of the points he made strike home with me.
My concern is not so much as theft by renegade snowmobilers who are cheating the local snowmobile clubs and their many volunteers.
But I suspect some of those same individuals are the same ones who are also “stealing” from groups such as the one I belong to.
My group, Valley East Trails, is a sub-committee of the Valley East Community Action Network and we are trying to maintain and keep safe three walking trails on city-owned property within the former City of Valley East.
These trails are designated for use by those of us who prefer to use our own power to get around. Unfortunately, we are continually thwarted in our goal of keeping motorized vehicles off the trails.
Installing barriers and signs has no effect, and with our season being 12 months long, we have a lot to contend with. Vandals cut down and damage trees; break, saw through, destroy and/or uproot barriers; litter and dump garbage on or near the trails.
Like the snowmobile clubs, we are also dependent upon the goodwill of volunteers. This past June, for example, we were able to get funding from Ward 6 Coun. André Rivest, and along with volunteers from Valley East and Old Sudbury, we were able to install a series of stationary gates on the Howard’s Nature Trail.
Howard’s Nature Trail is located on the grounds of the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre. We weren’t even finished our project when vandals pulled out freshly installed gates and tossed them into the bush.
These activities continued for some time after the completion of the project, only now there was no longer a group of volunteers to do the repairs — just three of us, a middle-aged couple and a senior citizen.
And like Mr. Hall says, ATVs are a problem. For the snowmobilers, they lose the right of access to private land they originally had permission to ride over.
In our case, not only is it illegal for any motorized vehicle to be on the trails, but also repairing the damage they do is both costly and time-consuming especially for a group that has no resources and a very small volunteer base.
On behalf of volunteers working to provide a fine recreational experience for Greater Sudbury citizens on both snowmobile and non-motorized trails, don’t go where you are too cheap to pay your way or where you are not invited.