I just wanted to bring to the attention of readers the fact that there are about 200 volunteers in our various communities here in Sudbury that build, maintain and groom our snowmobile trails every season.
These trails provide great winter recreation for thousands, and bring in tourism dollars to our city.
The sad fact is many are stealing from us. They are riding on the trails without contributing their share of the cost and they do not buy a permit to ride. This is tantamount to theft.
To those that do buy a pass, I thank you and want to say that perhaps you could take it a step further and volunteer for a few hours at one of your local clubs. We have eight in the city.
The volunteers also must buy a pass and give freely of their time for no pay. It is sad to see those that wish to cheat the system by trespassing on the trails getting away with it.
When you ride, if your buddy does not have a pass, refuse to ride with them. Police can only do so much.
It is up to us to get the word out that we will not have trails at all if the cheaters refuse to buy in, and if we are not able to replace the older volunteers, many of whom are in their 70s at this time.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of trails here in Sudbury are on private land, and we also have issues with ATVs that trespass, making it hard to convince landowners to allow access.
We have lost permission to many kilometres of trails due to this issue alone, and that in turn means a re-route that costs thousands to build and of course many hours of volunteer work.
To those that sled who have high school students in the home, your kids can get credit for volunteering at your local club, and it is a great way to meet other sledders as well for both you and the kids.
Get involved and keep our trails alive.
I would like to ask the editor to perhaps post more stories — not just the bad news when an accident occurs — about one of the best winter activities Sudbury has to offer and bring to light the issues that surround keeping this vital resource that we have alive for future generations to enjoy.
Ride safe, and have a great winter.