Allyson Snelling | Jan 26
GRAVENHURST - Imagine wakeboarding on the lake without being towed by a boat.
(Yes. Imagine?! NOT.)
|OK for snow machines, not people?|
Then there is the snowmobile trail.
And one of the reasons I left Long Lake after fifty years cottaging there. My forest walks
were relaxing. I would usually pick up the garbage on the snowmobile trail. Tower Road is a great walk winter or summer.
Sledders owned the frozen lake in winter. Jetskis in summer. Round a round figure 8's with the ensuing noise and strangers too close for comfort. Our new neighbours were appalled.
Imagine our other lake friends. Owning property for 70 acres for 100 years, now facing more trails and more noise. They had to post warning signs, which weren't much help.
Imagine the wilderness. Quietly walking through towering beeches, larger diameter than my expanding girth. :-)
|This is what the sleds do to the land.|
Now, I must admit to some conflicted emotions around this idea.
(2km long!), is a busy lake with sledders, and people who really don't belong on the lake. We know that pollution results when sleds go by. Avoiding this lake, by going around it, will not resolve *this* problem for nature, as the sleds will simply go somewhere else. Plus, there are those who illegally hunt in this area. They trespass, and friends have a bullet hole in the home to show for it. They were there at the time, working outdoors, and pretty pissed off!
|Otter be careful out there!|
This opening up of yet another forest trail will impact more homeowners and wildlife alike. The otters who swim across the snow.
Local residents plan to oppose a new snowmobile trail in Bala at an upcoming meeting in Muskoka Lakes, this newspaper has learned.
The 2.6-kilometre trail, known as the Oka Colonization Road, located west of Bala off Tower Road, could provide a more convenient connection to the Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association’s 144-kilometre trail system, claims association president Rene Leenaars.
In addition, Kyle Vickers, whose residence is accessed via Tower Road, objected to the use of Tower Road to access the new extension. Unmaintained in winter, the township road is plowed by Vickers to one lane in order to reach his driveway. The road could easily be mistaken for a snowmobile trail, he explained. The twists and turns and hilly nature of the road also result in many blind spots for oncoming traffic.
“I don’t want to hit a snowmobiler,” said Vickers. “It’s just unsafe.”
|Coming off the trail onto Long Lake|
They seldom still to the trail
In response to Vickers’ concerns, the MLSTA agreed to widen the required section of Tower Road to two lanes in order to safely accommodate both vehicle and snowmobile traffic.
Tower Road is a beautiful little road. It runs through a small creek, and water that runs into the lake.
Is it a good idea to open up 144 km to strangers across the system? I've seen and heard them on the trails. With the powerful machine, zooming by in the dark, we open up the region to even more burglaries and thefts.
How much better to limit trails to those living locally, or acting as local tourists by staying in local resorts. Why expand a trail in this way? Those driving their sleds at breakneck speeds do not add to the local economy. They do not stop on long treks. The 'kids', and I use the term loosely, bring their own beer cans and leave them on the trails. With changing weather conditions, a long trek can take you through trails that are in varying degrees of accessibility. I remember sitting in the Rosseau restaurant, hearing people complain that they had to stop as the trail was 'brutal' that day.
|Many stop beside the lake|
Some folks save money by building a fire on a sled trek. How does this contribute to tourism dollars?
|What do these guys contribute to the economy?|
I think that to improve the quality of life for landowners, the association use our tax grants to create discrete trails, not open-ended highways for those who want speed, not beauty.
|Running right through precious bogs|
Read the Bracebridge Banner article here:
"MUSKOKA LAKES — A request to open a snowmobile trail hit a snag at a recent Muskoka Lakes committee meeting.The 2.6 kilometre trail, known as the Oka Colonization Road, located west of Bala off of Tower Road, could provide a more convenient connection to the Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association’s 144 kilometre trail system, said association president Rene Leenaars.Currently, riders must wait for Long Lake to freeze to connect across the trails, he said.According to Leenaars, the Oka Colonization Road was used as a snowmobile trail from the 1960s until the 1990s, when there was a disagreement over landownership."