Most snowmobilers don't think about where snowmobile trails come from in the first place. Trails are not preordained or legislated or a God-given right. Mostly, snowmobile trails exist because someone has said "yes".
Frequently, that someone is a private landowner whose property is situated where a snowmobile club desires to place a trail. Clubs must obtain permission from the landowner to cross their property. Normally, for a designated narrow strip of land, to be used only in the winter by snowmobiles with valid Snowmobile Trail Permits.
If enough landowners say "no", either to a new trail or to the renewal of an existing one, it could threaten the existence of the provincial system we enjoy today. Think about it: snowmobiling in some areas could return to the dark ages where there were no linkages to other networks and regions, only the ability to ride around on local loops.
So what can the ordinary snowmobiler do to help clubs keep trails in place?
At last count, Ontario snowmobile clubs reported land use permission with a total of 15,000 private landowners. These owners include farmers, cottagers, hunt camp owners, wood lot operators, absentee landlords, businesses, corporations, and many, many others. They are a diverse group, with many different viewpoints and interests, but all share a love of their land, and a desire to be treated fairly and with respect by the snowmobiling community.
By designating a specific route across their land the OFSC snowmobiles during the winter, landowners have contributed immeasurably to their local snowmobile clubs and home communities. Landowners who provide consent for the snowmobile club to access their property, will be invited to sign an OFSC Land Use Permission Form. This form outlines the obligations of the snowmobile club to the landowner. When it is signed, the insurer for the OFSC agrees to recognize the landowner as an insured by the OFSC's Third Party General Liability Policy for any legal liability claims with respect to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. The signed form becomes the landowner's assurance that the trail system on his/her property will be monitored, maintained and groomed by club volunteers. By allowing permission, the snowmobile trail network which also forms part of the OFSC's provincial trail system.