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‘Frustrating’ snowmobile season over before it really started

With only a few thousand of over 30,000 kilometres of trails watched over by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) open, many sledding clubs are closing their trails for the season. 

That includes many in Muskoka like the Muskoka Sno-Bombers in Bracebridge. 

Steve Brooks, director, remains optimistic he may be able to pull his snow machine out of his garbage if another dumping of snow hits Muskoka, but admits “the odds of that happening are pretty low.” 

“We, just like everybody else, just want to ride,” says Brooks. “We do this because we want to enjoy the sport but there really just hasn’t been a season.” 

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This season, he says the club was only able to open their trails for 10 non-consecutive days. 

“Our club, just like every other club in the province, has put hundreds of hours into trail networks,” he explains. 

Brooks is sympathetic to the many businesses that rely on sledders in the winter to keep their operations going. In a good year, he says restaurants located near trails have parking lots “littered with snowmobiles” but has seen many of them empty this season. 

Despite calling the season “frustrating,” Brooks says one positive is the countless hours of work from volunteers. 

He explains many hit the trails in their all-terrain vehicles in the fall to make sure they’re in good shape and continue to monitor the network all day and all night during the winter. 

While the season is coming to a close, he says anyone is welcome to volunteer, adding “many hands make light work.” 

Along with volunteers, Brooks says private landowners are an invaluable part of sledding. He points out that most of the trail network in Bracebridge goes through private property. 

“There’s nothing in it for them other than seeing the sport continue,” says Brooks. 

While most of the trails surrounding Muskoka are closed, the OFSC’s trail guide does show some open trails to the north. 

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