Heavy snow over Christmas means Muskoka’s snowmobile trails will take a bit longer to get ready.
Nunzio Iacobellis, President of the Snowcrest Riders in Gravenhurst, says while the snow was nice to see, it’s having the opposite effect on trails from what most people think.
“The ground is still not frozen, and with all the snow, it’s basically insulating it,” says Iacobellis. “So clubs are now having to go out and try to break trail. And there’s lots of trees that have fallen over, deadfall branches that now have to get cleaned up on top of dealing with the significant snowfall that we’ve had.”
Iacobellis says trails across Muskoka– many of which sit on private land– are still closed to the public. He notes that people were respectful of that fact over the holidays, and asks that riders bear with them a few weeks longer.
“I would ask that the riders stay off the trails, and if they’re looking to get out, reach out to any of the clubs,” says Iacobellis. “They’re all looking for extra help because there is a lot of work that needs to get done in the next few weeks, for trail inspections and packing of trails. The faster we can get them ready, the faster we’ll have the trails available for the ridership.”
According to Iacobellis, they’re still targeting mid-January to open most snowmobile trails, but some might be available sooner than others. Trails with swamp or other water crossings, he says, will need to freeze over completely before they’re safe to ride.
In the meantime, he says to keep an eye on the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs’ interactive trail guide, which is updated every few minutes.
“We’re all sledders, the volunteers, and we want to ride as much as everybody,” says Iacobellis. “But we have to do it when it’s safe to do so.”