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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ontario Trails News - Minister Coteau responds to correct misinterpretation of Trails Act

A Statement from Minister Coteau on Bill 100 and Landowner Easements

Please see the statement that Minister Michael Coteau released to clarify the misconception around Bill 100:

February 10, 2016
The province introduced Bill 100, the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015, to improve access to Ontario’s trails, building both a healthier, and more prosperous Ontario. Our ministry held consultations with over 250 organizations, including municipalities, Aboriginal groups, trail organizations and not-for-profit organizations. The feedback the ministry heard during these consultations was integral to shaping the proposed legislation.
To be clear, an easement pursuant to Bill 100, if passed, would be a voluntary agreement between a landowner and an eligible body or bodies. No property owner would be compelled to provide an easement unless they agreed to do so.

-          Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

At Ontario Trails we thank the Minister for clarifying the content and intent of Bill 100. We appreciate his support on the issue and his support of the legislation.

Ontario Trails Council contacts Media, distributes content to members and thrid parties

At Ontario Trails Council we've done more than write the press release this week. We've been on hte phone with trail groups, landowners, the media and government officials. we've worked to clarify the issue, we were contacted on the weekend before the story broke big and we think we helped reduce the loss of trail through our effort. Please support this by:
  • Contact your MP and ask them to support Bill 100
  • Contact your Regional Trails Committee and ask them to support Bill 100
  • Send the OTC Press Release to area trail and landowners to clarify the issue
  • Most importantly - understand what the landowners concerns are and listen to them. If we respond as good neighbours they will understand trail folks are good folks
  • Talk to other trail users and tell them - don't trespass, respect private property - that saves trails!

Ontario Trails Involved in National Trails Development 
national trails coalition

The Ontario Trails Council supports the initiatives of the National Trails Coalition who have made a pre-budget submission to Parliament.

The NTC was encouraged when, during the election campaign, we received the following response to our
request for continued support of this private/public partnership from the Liberal Party of Canada

“A Liberal government will provide a new, dedicated funding envelope of $20 billion for social infrastructure, which will prioritize investment in, among other things, recreational infrastructure such as trails. Our commitment to investing in infrastructure will ensure that groups such as the National Trails Coalition, and its municipal and provincial partners, have access to the stable and predictable funding they need to continue creating jobs and promoting our outdoors. We are proud to support investments in recreational infrastructure such as trails that keep Canadians active and healthy.”

We look forward to working with NTC to make this promise happen. We encourage you to contact the NTC to secure information to forward to your local MP.

ontario federation of snowmobile clubs logoOFSC Warns About Trail Conditions 
opp snowmobile safety

 DATE: February 2, 2016
Three Ontario Snowmobilers Die in Weekend Incidents  
(ORILLIA, ON) – In the wake of a tragic weekend that claimed the lives of three snowmobilers on frozen waterways, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) are warning snowmobilers about unsafe ice and urging everyone, including anglers to stay off lakes and rivers.   
In one incident over the weekend, four snowmobilers went through the ice on a lake in the Haliburton region and one of them drowned. In another incident, a snowmobiler and his passenger were travelling on a Georgian Bay area lake and died after reportedly colliding with rocks on an island.  The ice was too unsafe to get to the victims by ground and they had to be recovered by helicopter.   
No ice is 100 per cent safe 
The winter’s late start and persisting mild temperatures throughout the province make current ice conditions extremely dangerous. Even when sufficient ice forms, it is never 100 per cent safe to snowmobile on.  Staying off the ice altogether is the only sure way to prevent snowmobile tragedies from occurring on waterways.   
A personal choice? Think again 
Some snowmobilers call riding on frozen waterways a “personal choice”.  This is not the case when you and your snowmobile go through the ice and police, other emergency personnel and civilians have to try to rescue you on that same unsafe ice. 
To avoid unnecessary risks and get home safely after your ride, the OPP and OFSC recommend that snowmobilers adhere to available, land-based OFSC trails whenever possible. OFSC clubs provide many trails that avoid water crossings altogether and include bridges and culverts that allow you to pass over water crossings safely.
“Common sense” checklist   
If parts of the province experience sustained periods of cold temperatures in the coming days or weeks, carefully assess ice conditions before you head out on frozen waterways. If you do choose to snowmobile on lakes, cross only where a marked stake line is in place and go directly from shore to shore, without stopping on the ice. The following safety checklist can help ensure a safe ride:
  • Check ice thickness and quality before riding onto any frozen waterway.
  • Only travel where ice is already well-tracked and others are present, and where ice roads and fishing huts are in place.
  • Be mindful that ice conditions can vary from day-to-day, from hour-to-hour and from one location to the next.
  • Never travel on ice alone, at night or while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Avoid slushy or untracked ice or ice near moving water or dock bubblers.
  • Watch out for obstacles like rocks, stumps, docks, ice roads and fishing huts.
  • Wear a buoyant snowmobile suit and carry ice picks.
  • Do not travel on ice for several days after any mild temperatures and stay off the ice altogether as soon as spring temperatures stay at or above 0˚C.
Your family needs you to come home  
Finally, the OPP and OFSC are asking snowmobilers to remember every time they head out for a ride, that their loved ones expect and need them to get home safely. Don’t let your family be the ones who answer the door to a police officer who has to deliver the devastating news that their loved one died in a snowmobile incident.     
The OPP is committed to saving lives on Ontario’s highways, trails and waterways through the reduction of preventable injury and death. Initiatives are developed and delivered through the Provincial Traffic Safety Program.
The OFSC is committed to proactive leadership in promoting safe, responsible riding, on and off Ontario snowmobile trails, by building safer snowmobiling knowledge, attitudes and behaviours through rider education, safety legislation development and enforcement.
For more information, click on the following links:  
OPP Sgt. Peter Leon            Or:         OPP Sgt. Lise Grenier
Media Relations Coordinator                Specialized Patrol Coordinator
Corporate Communications                Highway Safety Division    
Phone: (705) 329- 6878                    Phone: (705) 329-7660
For more information, click on the following links: