Snowmobile Season by Bob Weirmeir

It’s the time of year again when volunteers from your local snowmobile clubs are out setting up the trails in the anticipation of snow. Thanks to Bill 100, the Trails Bill, this process now should be a little more complex. The Ontario Landowners Association Director of Research Liz Marshall brought this bill to our attention a couple of years ago. What used to be a friendly handshake agreement between property owners, thanks to section 12 of this bill, is a thing of the past.

Landowners now have to protect themselves from easements that can be registered on title with the threat of this easement being transferred to any one of a number of other entities. Extensive dialogue between OLA representatives and the OFSC, not always friendly I might add, brought out an agreement to be presented to the landowner each fall with terms and conditions for the use of the trails on private property. While not as good as a lease, this agreement is better than nothing. It puts a start and end date on the permission time as well as spelling out the duties the clubs are agreeing to.

The Agreement I have also has a section 9, simply stating “additional Conditions”. This section lets you state any other concerns you may have. One concern brought up recently at our monthly Landowner meeting was insurance. In this day of lawsuits, insurance should be a real concern. Requesting proof of insurance is not unreasonable and just may be a line should be penned in to extend the OFSC insurance to cover snowmobiles that go off the prescribed trail onto your private property. Your own insurance should not have to cover violations or damage caused by people who should not be there.

These are just a few thoughts on how to deal with concerns that were not a problem before Bill 100 “fixed” things.