It will be sledding as usual for Sunset Country Snowmobile Club members this winter despite a $10 surcharge on riding permits in the province.
Concerns last week the local club’s 400 km of groomed trails could be closed down this winter proved to be unfounded as members now insist trails will be groomed and permits sold for 2001-02.
“It will be business as usual. The club is still solvent and we’re still going to be opening up the trails,” SCSC secretary Philip Jones noted late Tuesday.
Jones attended a meeting of snowmobile clubs in Dryden, where it was revealed that at the provincial level, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) had decided that permits would be sold with a $10 surcharge to compensate for a 700 percent increase in liability insurance for trail operations.
The OFSC is facing an increase from $300,000 to $3.2 million for the insurance and had suggested the surcharge could run as high as $30—which threatened the local club as well as many others across the province.
The surcharge will be added to the $120 fee for trail permits, which will be available soon through local businesses.
“They have told us that they will be shipping them out on [Oct. 12] so hopefully we’ll have them by the end of the month,” said Jones.
Sale of the permits had been delayed until the amount of the liability surcharge could be set.
Last week, SCSC past-president Jerry Darvell had hinted the club’s future was in peril because of the cost of the permits. But after the Dryden meeting, the club executive promises it is not at risk of shutting down.
“The club is up and running, the club is not folding,” Jones insisted last night.
Rates for one-day permits will be $30 and seven-day one will be sold for $90. Riders found on the trails without permits could face fines of up to $2,000, and in some cases trespassing charges.
The OFSC has more than 200,000 family memberships, making it the largest snowmobile club in the world.