Snowmobilers don't want to be forgotten

Snowmobilers don't want to be forgotten

BETTING À DAY

“We want to be heard so that all parties involved in the world of snowmobiling in Quebec fully understand our reality, including government authorities. » 

This is what the president of the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec, Réal Camiré, told us in an interview with Le Journal< /em>.

“Our everyday reality, in the design of the trails and in the work of the volunteers who set up and maintain the trail network, goes beyond the links we have with the Ministry of Transport. We must also work with the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) and the Ministry of the Environment, in addition to the authorities of the MRCs and municipalities,” he mentions. 

“We ask the next government to take this reality into account and ensure that all these beautiful people talk to each other. Yes, safety is very important in the practice of snowmobiling, but there is much more than that. » 

Recalling that the world of snowmobiling in Quebec represents $3.27 billion per year for a season that lasts 12 to 18 weeks, the president explains that at the base, there is volunteers.

“Without all the club volunteers, the snowmobile world that currently exists in Quebec would not exist. They work very hard each season, particularly in the matter of rights of way, to ensure the sustainability of the activity. They have reached the point where they need help to eliminate the many irritants they are experiencing,” says Réal Camiré.

Several challenges

Despite the efforts of volunteers, they face many challenges when working.

“After a storm, they have to work to clean the paths and cut down the fallen trees, but there again, they encounter obstacles in their path with the people of the MFFP and those of the Environment. It gets complicated. »

Mr. Camiré wants the parties involved to find a way to resolve this problem. 

“With the new government, we are going to have to redo our homework by probably meeting new people to explain to them the reality of snowmobiling in Quebec. Behind all this, all we want is to ensure the sustainability of the practice of snowmobiling, both on private land and on public land,” he adds.

For the general manager of the Federation, Stéphane Desroches, we really have to push even further to remove the irritant of rights of way for volunteers.

“We have undertaken significant work in the overhaul of Bill 71, which has allowed us to regulate very important situations such as the issue of rights of way. We had also made claims concerning fines for vagrancy or for having driven off the trails, behavior that causes loss of rights of way,” explains Mr. Desroches, wishing for more severe fines, since he judges that he this is a good deterrent.

Case to be clarified

For this specialist, there is a way to understand each other well, c is to set up consultation tables.

“Over the past few years, we have had this experience of a few issue tables and the results have been excellent. We must now think about extending this principle throughout Quebec, where we can explain our point of view on the sustainability of trails. »

One last point he made a point of stressing during the interview is that of multi-use trails.

“You should know that on public lands, the government has decided to establish multi-use trails. Our volunteers are concerned because they do not want to find themselves at the center of a civil liability lawsuit, if an unfortunate event occurs on a trail.

“You understand that they are working to build and maintain a snowmobile trail. If an accident occurs on a multi-use trail between a snowmobiler and another type of vehicle or even with a hiker or cross-country skier, who will be responsible in all of this? asks Mr. Desroches.

Solution

For him, there is only one way. “We have to sit around a table with all the decision-makers who affect the world of snowmobiling, in order to find lasting solutions that will ensure that there will be trails for a long time and that our volunteers will be able to work in complete safety. . »

Let’s not forget that thanks to its network of trails and access to all the services it offers, Quebec is recognized as a snowmobile paradise worldwide.