Sledders help to protect nature

Press Release

Across Ontario, snowmobilers have been doing their part to keep nature beautiful for more than 40 years.
This January, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs celebrates these achievements during Provincial Snowmobiling Environment Month and reminds snowmobilers to:
•stay on OFSC trails;
•to leave tracks, not trash;
•to avoid noisy after-market mufflers; and
•to maintain sleds at peak operating efficiency.
Environment Month celebrates snowmobiling’s evolution to cleaner and more advanced technology. Today’s snowmobiles run more efficiently, effectively, and quieter than ever before, with 98 percent fewer hydrocarbons and 94 percent less sound than older sleds.
Significantly-reduced emissions, virtual elimination of smoke and smell, and much greater fuel efficiency herald a good news story for the future of snowmobiling.
Overall, snowmobiles account for only a small fraction of all the motor fuel burned annually in Ontario.
The month also highlights that the presence of OFSC snowmobiling is contained, minimal, and seasonal. While Ontario’s total land area is just over 900,000 square km, the surface footprint of all OFSC snowmobile trails is roughly 122 square km—about the same as one good-sized town.
By choosing to ride on clearly-defined and organized trails that take up less than .0025 percent of our overall landmass, OFSC snowmobilers substantially reduce interaction with wildlife and plants.
In addition, trail riding occurs with a blanket of snow protecting the Earth, thereby further mitigating any impact.
After the snow melts, nature flourishes again from spring to fall on OFSC trails.
Provincial Snowmobiling Environment Month also is a celebration of many OFSC stewardship accomplishments. Each OFSC snowmobiler contributes $1 from the fee for a snowmobile trail permit to the OFSC’s Environment Fund.
The OFSC has invested more than $1.35 million from this fund to underwrite worthy environment projects, such as fuel containment systems, erosion control, and re-seeding and replanting.
Recent fund initiatives also include sponsoring a University of Waterloo engineering team for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge—an annual international competition that helps create new technology to further reduce exhaust emissions and sound.
Meanwhile, the OFSC also is partnering with the internationally-recognized School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences (SENRS) at Fleming College (Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg, and Haliburton) to work strategically in advancing environmental and natural resources stewardship programs and initiatives.
The OFSC is committed to proactive leadership and support for snowmobiling and snowmobile trails, to conserve, protect, and appreciate the environment in a responsible, long-term sustainable way.