You can so ride your sled along Old Goulais Bay RoadFriday, January 18, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
SooToday.com has received the following note regarding a popular snowmobile route in Sault Ste. Marie from Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance (OntORA) Treasurer and Saultite Bob Rollins. He talks about a recent decision in which OntORA won a challenge for Sault Ste. Marie sledders.
The long standing dispute about who has rights to utilise the Old Goulais Bay road corridor in the winter months has now been settled once and for all.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs laid claim to the road years ago and only those with valid OFSC permits were allowed to travel that route in the winter months.
Charges laid by city police in a blitz last year led to court proceedings and subsequent dialogue by the defendant with the Ministry of Transport (MTO).
The MTO is quoted here - "There is no question that public money has been used to maintain the road, both within the City and the LRB, but also in the area in between, present day and in the past an access road is open to the general public 365 days a year, and is not subject to seasonal change. Only a judge may close an access road, and the process for such a closure is clearly laid out in the Act to date, none of the process has been initiated in our files."
It is now clear that the road is open to all legal means of transportation 365 days of the year without fear of harassment.
On behalf of the Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance, Bob Rollins
The Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance (OntORA) is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to equal access to Crown land in Ontario.
For more information, visit the OntORA website
tailerdane 1/18/2013 8:16:55 AM Report
job well done and thank you
burned 1/18/2013 8:33:48 AM Report
Soooo...now this allows some hillbilly to drive his ATV or jacked up 4x4 down the groomed trail and destroy it? They can take my $260 trail pass and shove it up their asses...I'm running the states trails.
Flyers08 1/18/2013 8:39:21 AM Report
wow!!!!!Finally..Things are looking up.
yoyo165 1/18/2013 8:43:58 AM Report
Nice job Bob!
crashed13 1/18/2013 8:48:37 AM Report
"Charges laid by city police in a blitz last year"
So thats why we have so much crime in the down town core? The Police are concerned about some snowmobiler on the out skirts of the city?
Next they will heavily patrol Allen Side road for sleds with no stickers rather then drive by every Macs Milk in town more often looking for hoodie crack heads.
ehbcd2 1/18/2013 8:52:44 AM Report
Crashed, or write you a ticket for having a beer in a public place while ice fishing on a remote lake.
bounder 1/18/2013 8:54:43 AM Report
Burned,how would you like to have a camp on this trail and find out you could'nt go no more unless you buy a permit.That's what happened to Bob on the Whitman dam road. Wanna build a snowmobile access only road,go ahead but don't shut something I've been using long before the Soo snowmobile club got to-gether.Way to go Bob,not just an ordinary welder per se. Any one get a ticket go to small claims court and get your money back as they never the right to lay charges in the first place..
miester 1/18/2013 9:20:17 AM Report
it would be nice to see the law work with the public... as ruled, anybody should be able to drive anything down the side of rural roads... but they should just putt... problem is when they start speeding. I'd rather see them open up all the roads with a 20K speed limit... rather then these black and white rulings...
switchback 1/18/2013 10:12:37 AM Report
Finally, and this is not the only Publicly maintained road in our area that the OFSC has "confiscated".
snorules 1/18/2013 10:19:45 AM Report
I agree with Burned. We sledders pay good money for trail grooming to have someone tear up the trail with a 4x4. Wait till the OFSC implements a trail permit fee with your license sticker renewal for everyone in Ontario who owns a sled regardless if you trail ride or not.
noitznotme 1/18/2013 10:22:13 AM Report
What makes you any less of a hillybilly on your sled than anyone else driving any other vehicle? I guess I am one of those "hill billy" jacked up vehicle owners. My vehicle, a jacked up jeep, is licenced for the roads of north america. I have and will continue to use that road past and presently on all seasons. Go... As you stated and run american trails then if that makes you happy! FYI .... The largest private land lot up there aside from turbine properties is owned by 3 hillbilly jacked up vehicle owners and the property is used and modified for that purpose! Hell it's even named accordingly " hillbilly haven"! Kudos to Bob Rollins once again for making thing right. Regards, Jay (Rolledb4) an active " jacked up hillbilly vehicle enthusiast"
crashed13 1/18/2013 10:22:56 AM Report
If the Sled trail in on "crown land" and its the only access to your camp or fishing lake you do not need a $250 trail permit.
Your Ontario Fishing license becomes your trail permit.
Club trails on "private property" is another matter.
sledneck440 1/18/2013 10:23:58 AM Report
This is great, now i dont have to pay over $400 to buy 2 trail permits so i could take my kids for a ride to the Zone! i will just ride on the road portion and not go on the trail section that they groom. Saves me alot of money.
tailerdane 1/18/2013 10:38:49 AM Report
well said Noitznotme
PS64 1/18/2013 10:44:35 AM Report
You know if they had these trail passes for $50-$60 each, 5-6 times as many people would buy them making them more money than they make right now. Plus the gas station/restaurants/etc would make more as well. Tourism would increase. Would benefit ALL.
crashed13 1/18/2013 10:53:19 AM Report
We have camp with septic,phone and electricity on Rock Lake.You could live there year round if your chose to.
Some do on the other side.
The road to it "Old Mill Beach" is not plowed in the winter and becomes a groomed OFSC trail in the winter.
If I had a Jack up go any 4x4 truck I do not see how they can stop me from driving to my camp/home any time of the year.
Or can they?
P.S the taxes are all payed up also.
Sam C 1/18/2013 10:53:36 AM Report
burned... I suspect that the "hillbillies" would not drive their jacked-up trucks on the groomed trail in the winter. The dispute was with sledders who DID NOT have a trail permit using that roadway/trail.
The ruling is that despite not being maintained as a roadway in the winter -- and despite being groomed as a snowmobile trail -- it IS a recognized roadway and permits are NOT required.
John8 1/18/2013 11:00:34 AM Report
The only problem with sledders is that they do not drive down the road with any common sense. The shoulder of the road is basically nonexistent so they are on the road. The is more than dangerous. Also, sledders have a nice habit of going on private property so as to circumvent pavement. Unacceptable.
The road, when it returns back to pavement, does not have space to accommodate snowmachines. Anyone driving down this road should have the common sense to see this.
For those who live on Old Goulais Bay Road the issue is not solved.
jowo60 1/18/2013 11:01:15 AM Report
Great news. Ontora is doing their part in protecting all rights for all the people of Ontario. Great job guys.
The road has been there since my grandfather was young and belongs to all of us.
oldawg 1/18/2013 11:02:25 AM Report
I see things haven't changed much since 25 years ago when I used to belong to the snowmobile club. We always knew that the Old Goulais Bay Road was public and you didn't need a permit for it. Nobody was hassled for a permit on that road that I can remember, and I can't see how that could have changed. you can however, be checked by the OPP for registration, insurance and alcohol, no matter where you are, unless it's on your own property, I think. I imagine the club still grooms that road though, which I think would make your ride a little smoother. I could never understand the thinking of people who will pay 5-10,000 for a snow machine and then complain about 250 dollars so they can actually ride it somewhere in reasonable comfort.
thomas 1/18/2013 11:03:26 AM Report
I totally agree with PS64. Lower the trail pass rates and a lot more people will buy them. What families can afford the currant rates so they can go on a nice cruise with their kiddies?
Lowering the permit costs
= more money
= Better trails
= increase tourism
= increased revenue for businesses along the trails
JDW 1/18/2013 11:14:44 AM Report
What PS64 said. The complete OFSC model is broken and scary. Someone from the Gov't must step in and fix it. Try to make it less full of BS and more inclinded to Cdn freedom. That's how our boys would have wanted it.
PS64 1/18/2013 11:17:07 AM Report
Not to mention the families that have 2-4 machines but only buy 1 pass and travel together on 1 machine or take turns. They would now buy 2 to 4 passed at $50 each. I am telling you this would really work for the best. I have an older machine and it would cost only $125 right now. But I would use it only 2-3 times a winter and that is too much. Great deal of $260 for those who put 1-2 thousand km/yr on it.
I really think if they tried this as a trial for just 1 year, they would be amazed......
Bad Dawg 1/18/2013 11:31:12 AM Report
Its a small step in a long battle. Sledders think they can go anywhere there is snow. As a hilbilly wheeler in my jacked 4x4 I am glad these sledders are getting put in their place (to the side of the public road). There is a long list of complaints from landowners that grant them access.
Out by Creek Road my buddy found a whole mess of new trails on his property where only through access was granted. It wasn't 4x4's ripping up the trails. It was about 12-15 machines with trail permits making jumps and videotaping each other acting like fools. They had no clue whos land it was but because there was nice untouched snow in a couple valleys, they just did whatever they wanted
.... look at yourselves with the 800-1000cc, 144 inch long, with 2 inch paddle track that turns at 140 mph. thas what is destroying your trails.
crashed13 1/18/2013 11:39:42 AM Report
Better to have 5 members paying $80 then one memeber paying $250.
Its not that I can,t affort $260 but there comes a point also where you feel like a sucker doing it. That is a reason people do not pay it too.
They should have a $30 day pass for us who only get out once or twice.
All they have is a 3day pass you must use all 3 days in a row and its still $100 or something like that.
I don,t feel like snowmobiling for 3 days solid.
burned 1/18/2013 11:59:09 AM Report
noitznotme...Thanks for your approval, I will enjoy riding the US trails...and you also enjoy driving down snow covered back roads with your sister in the passenger seat of your jacked up jeep with the winch wrapped around the bumper..
Pot8oHead 1/18/2013 12:22:44 PM Report
A couple of years ago, I drove our Pontiac Montana from one end of Old Goulais Bay Road to the other... it took nearly 2 hours to get to the Goulais end of it, but I enjoyed the ride anyway.
If I had a vehicle capable of doing it in the winter, I wouldn't hesitate. Sorry you sledders pay to have the Club groom a public road. Maybe someone should talk to the geniuses who decided that was a good way to go?
I'd feel more sympathy for riders if it weren't for the morons I encounter every winter -- like the idiot who, every year for 8 straight, liked flying up the dead-end part of Lennox Ave to get a jump off of the snow plowed up against the entrance to the park (you know, a PARK, where children like to play?, or the dumbass who likes to get from ?? (somewhere toward Wallace Terrace) to Second Line via the driveways on Hare Ave.
agent_zoey 1/18/2013 12:34:58 PM Report
Can't wait to see the first death report when someone on a sled hits a vehicle that is driving down the groomed trail. Trust me, I dont like OFSC and/or Trail Blazers for that matter, since combined them and the cops, they have royally screwed up sledding in Sault Ste Marie. But, now that it is deemed for any vehicle the accident rate will sky rocket.
crashed13 1/18/2013 12:39:26 PM Report
I agree Grooming a public trail/path might be one thing but just because a public "road" is not plowed should not make it a snowmobile clubs domain.
22hoofer22 1/18/2013 12:58:58 PM Report
To who said they don't understand how someone who will pay 5 to 10 thousand dollars for a sled but not $260 for a trail pass to use it, your missing the point. The people who buy new sleds every year or so are almost the only ones still buying passes. If I have a sled that is much older and my income does not allow me to upgrade my sled, how can I afford a $260 pass.
It seems like the days of family fun on snowmachines is gone. You need money to run the trails and that's what they want. They don't want every Joe Blow out enjoying the snow, otherwise, when you register your sled they would charge you $10-$20 dollars for your sticker, not free. Then with a registered sled you should be able to use the trails, provided you have insurance.
Just my opinion. By the way, this year and last year are the only years I have not bought passes for my wife and I going back 16 years.........
agent_zoey 1/18/2013 1:17:14 PM Report
One Last Note. This should set prescedent to any public road that is maintained by MTO but used by OFSC for sledding will now allow for any vehicle to use during the winter months. This will open a huge can of worms for OFSC for groomed trails through out Ontario. They better start looking at places to relocate their trails.
Ricatoni 1/18/2013 1:58:12 PM Report
OFSC is a rip off Period.......Im glad that they have been put in their place ..They are a bunch of arrogant ding dongs.I use to buy three permits now they get nothing from me.sorry but those that are running it ruined it many years ago.....now I ride across the river and oh yea I take all my cash with me.........Hello get the message ??? get rid of the ding dongs that run it and make it more affordable again and I may consider purchasing another permit.but as it stands now I will bring my fishing rod and tackle and will ride the roads again...its to bad these people that run this facility are such dummies and they dont realize they have ruined it for us and themselves ........get some new people in there and drop the rates and see what happens $50 is afair price to ride the trails ....and if they say it isnt enough money to maintain the trails I say do an audit and lets see exactly whose pocket the money is going in????
Nunavut 1/18/2013 2:14:48 PM Report
Another headsup about the OFSC..they are stating to Government in near future that they represent most all the snowmobilers of Ontario and that they want the license plate fee paid to MTO to be raised ten dollars and then government is to give that ten dollars to OFSC so they can use it for their trails. What that might mean for the rest of us snowmachine owners in the north, that never use the trails, will be MTO might start charging us for plates (free now) and out of our pocket we will be paying for a sport we are not interested in. The OFSC is getting far to many powers for their expensive touring sport . They say the trail permits have become too expensive at $240 so need Government to kick in more than they already do for OFSC with our tax money and now maybe our plate money.
oldawg 1/18/2013 2:34:30 PM Report
I don't know what it costs in fuel and maintenance to groom those trails, but I bet it is a pretty hefty bill. Somebody has to pay it somehow.I wonder how many times 250 dollars would divide into that total ?
crashed13 1/18/2013 3:15:43 PM Report
I know there membership must be dropping. When I last bought a permit in
2010 I did the 100 mile loop from the rod&gun club and I just seen two other sleds all day.
Forsaken502 1/18/2013 4:32:00 PM Report
So it's okay that you paid $10,000 for a machine that will pretty much go anywhere for 2 months out of the year, but because I spent $5500 to build a lifted Jeep that will go pretty much anywhere 10 months out of the year, I'm a hillbilly 4 wheeler?
It's people like you that are going to make me go out and tear up every inch of groomed trail I can. Have fun nailing tire ruts at 60mph. This ruling also goes for Creek road too. Maybe I'll just happen to get stuck where the trail crosses the road and have to spend 2 hours spinning my tires and digging the trail up to get out. Hell, maybe I'll organize a club ride so instead of 1 set of tire tracks you can deal with 15
Nunavut 1/18/2013 4:34:20 PM Report
quite frankly it is OFSC's fault they expanded the sport and trails including multi million dollar bridge projects and wide trails so they can run them at high speed on long loop trails with little regard to change in economy, US dollar, change in border expectations (passports) changing weather....the sport got too expensive those that want to tour should pay for their sport.
Bad Dawg 1/18/2013 5:06:27 PM Report
If it were all volunteers then the cost would go down. The big wigs just want to get rich, they don't care about respecting landowners (sending us a generalized thank you in a yearly news letter is not respect). They don't care about the people that have had property vandalized because sledders want to make their own trails.
Shame on all of you who think sledders are the only answer for winter tourism money. Why spend $260 here when you can go across the ditch for much cheaper, see more sledders and nicer trails.
I will be supporting our 4x4ing areas (Morning Wood/Trussels) again this year and even support some across the river. If the ofsc wants money for a winter trail pass then I would buy one for the Jeep but til then I will winter wheel wherever I can.... legally of course
sledman92 1/18/2013 5:10:16 PM Report
I used to buy a trail pass all the time and use the trails all the time, but life has been really busy the last couple of years. I don't think $250 is a good value to ride the trails once or twice if I am lucky..But now I am happy that I can at least travel Old Goulais Bay road to the Zone anyways. Nice little ride. I don`t mind even donating a little cash to the trail blazers for all their hard work but can`t justify $250..Hopefully next year will settle down and I can get on the trails on a regular basics...
zr800 1/18/2013 5:22:39 PM Report
so does this mean the all the people that payed there fines are going to get there money BACK??????? i hope sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
roadhazzard 1/19/2013 4:57:00 AM Report
I never look forward to picking anything out from my grill. n I never want to so all be safe no matter where ya play.
snorules 1/19/2013 10:29:09 PM Report
The OFSC and the City of SSM need to work together to keep tourists coming. I,as a tourist used to bring a group of sledders(usually about 12-15) several times a season to ride in the Sault, spend money at your hotels/restaurants and casino. But because you hilbilly's insist on ruining our adventure, we will be taking our money elsewhere.
sled-mad 1/21/2013 1:27:24 AM Report
So it sounds like we may access any lake without being fined as well if your fishing or going to your camp??