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I am purchasing a recreation property north of Huntsville in Ontario (Canada). There are a number of OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs) trails very close to the property.

Are there any solid rules on usage of these trails in the off season, particularly for non-motorized uses such as walking and biking?

Any general knowledge / guidelines from sledders or other users would be great, links to specific information or policies would be great also.

Background for those who aren't familiar:

OFSC trails are highly maintained and essentially look like very narrow gravel roads when you see them on the ground in the summer. There is a huge network covering thousands of kilometers, and they have signage (names/directions, stop signs, yields, etc.) much like a regular public road, all maintained by teams of volunteers and funding from memberships, sledders who use these trails in the winter must purchase a permit. This question is specific to non-motorised, off-season (summer) use.

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  • Wouldn't it be best to contact the OFSC and ask?
    – bob1
    Oct 6, 2020 at 22:32
  • 1
    @bob1 that might help me, an informative answer here helps everyone. Oct 7, 2020 at 2:00
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    Yes - you can then self-answer, and you won't get a better answer than going straight to the source...
    – bob1
    Oct 7, 2020 at 2:09

1 Answer 1

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There are no solid rules.

I'm self answering after 2 years, as I've now spent a fair amount of time in the area with these trails and learned more about how they operate.

These trails run over a mix of public right of ways (unopened roads), public roads, public multi-use trail systems, and private property on which landowners have granted permission to local snowmobile clubs.

The ability to access these trails during the off season depends entirely on the specific section of trail and what the rules are. Public trails, roads, and right-of ways are open to the public at any time, but right-of-ways may not be passable due to water in the summertime.

Access to trails on private property are up to the individual land owners. The presence of the snowmobile trail inidicates they have granted land-owner permission to permit holding snowmobilers to use that section of trail whenever the local club deems it open. Use at other times is trespassing, unless you have explicit permission, or the landowner permits other uses such as hiking or ATV'ing as well.

So the presence of a snowmobile trail does not really strongly suggest if off season usage is legal or possible.

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  • This is an excellent answer. Thank you for taking the time to return and share what you learned.
    – csk
    Feb 8, 2022 at 2:49

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