I’m not sure if I can recall in my numerous years commenting and editorializing on this sport, any of the OEM’s top brass making personal appeals to the snowmobiling public. That’s exactly what’s happening and it’s dead serious.
The cover of the current issue of Supertrax Magazine broadcasts the issue with these three words: “Trouble in Paradise?”. I want to assure you, there is in fact, serious trouble in paradise. To be specific “snowmobile paradise”.
The trouble we’re speaking to has nothing to do with supply chain issues and late delivery of 2022 sleds. It’s way bigger and way more serious. It’s about the continued, unbridled, unrelenting, irresponsible, selfish and stupid actions of a minority among a legion of responsible snowmobilers.
The issue? Riding off groomed and mapped snowmobile trails criss-crossing our states and provinces in the winter. Violating the trust landowners extend to snowmobile clubs to keep everyone on the prescribed, permission-granted trail route is the issue.
Supertrax Magazine and SnowTrax Television have been outspoken proponents of staying on the trail and only riding off-trail when it’s 100-percent okay. We’ve written reams of articles and covered in great detail how blessed we are to enjoy our amazing snowmobile trail network as a result of the good graces extended to us by private landowners. Don’t forget this network is unparalleled in the off-road industry.
Here’s what’s happening right now: Get ready for your first ride on your fave trail system this winter. Way too many of us are going to discover gates, fences and otherwise immovable barriers stopping access to the formerly beautiful, exhilarating and interconnected trails you (and us) love riding. I’m not kidding.
This issue is off the rails right now and the volunteers who maintain and manage our hard-fought trail systems are telling us they are at the end of their collective ropes. Good hearted land owners are done with outlaw snowmobilers ripping up crops, flattening re-forested trees and generally running amok in the name of “boondocking” or “free riding”.
Time for everyone – but more particularly those who know they have participated in trespassing and tearing up private land – to stop this ridiculous behavior and get with the program. Get with the pledge – right now.
As a fraternity who have enjoyed amazing success developing tens of thousands of miles of groomed and marked snowmobile trails for over 50 years we surely can fix this! Can’t we?
Remember when impaired riding was enemy number one of the continued existence of snowmobiling? When hundreds of snowmobilers were killed each winter as a result of impaired operation, the general media called us out – asking why snowmobiles should even exist.
To a large degree we won this battle making the reduction of impaired operation of sleds a peer group/leadership issue. The number of serious injuries and deaths on snowmobiles today is dramatically lower than 25 years ago.
Our existence and access to trails has never been threatened to the degree it is right now. If those among our number don’t stop this illegal and irresponsible activity responsible snowmobilers are going to grind off a set of carbides every weekend riding roads to circumvent closed trails.
I’m not kidding. It’s 11:59 my friends. If you want to continue to enjoy this amazing off-road activity – take the pledge at SnowmobilersPledge.com. More importantly, live it!