On January 12th, 2021, the Province of Ontario announced a second province-wide State-of-Emergency and a new Stay At Home Order. The Order, which has come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, January 14th and will last at least 28 days. On January 13 at 5:56 PM, the Province issued an Order In Council with the regulations for the Stay At Home Order. This Order In Council specifically allows:
16. Exercising, including,
i. walking or moving around outdoors using an assistive mobility device, or
i i. using an outdoor recreational amenity that is permitted to be open under the Stage 1 Order.
As stated previously in the Stage 1 Order, Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, Ontario Regulation 82/20 (Stage 1 Order) dated January 11, 2021, in Schedule 3, section 4. (2): “The following outdoor recreational amenities may open if they are in compliance with subsection (3)” with the permitted uses listed in subsection 16 as “Snowmobile, cross country ski, dogsledding, ice skating and snow shoe trails”.
This means that as of today’s date and time, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) can reconfirm that our snowmobile trails remain a permitted recreational activity, allowable across the province as they have been since the last shutdown began on December 26, 2020, provided that participants comply with all other provincial and local public health unit directives. So, snowmobilers with valid trail permits are permitted to access any available (GREEN) or limited availability (YELLOW) trails at this time, but only within the context of the provisions of the Stay At Home Order that allows local recreational exercise from your primary residence.
Meanwhile where weather conditions permit, grooming operations are also allowed under the new regulations, which grant an exception for “Working or volunteering where the nature of the work or volunteering requires the individual to leave their residence, including when the individual’s employer has determined that the nature of the individual’s work requires attendance at the workplace.”
As per the previously released Flex Trail Plan, the OFSC will continue to keep feeder trails between public health regions unavailable (RED) and are urging all snowmobilers to stay close to home, ride with those in your household in groups of 5 or less, and only ride local trails if they become YELLOW or GREEN. For latest trail availability, please check the Interactive Trail Guide. The OFSC encourages all riders to respect local communities and ride in as self sufficient a manner as possible.
The foregoing update provides as much clarity as is available at this date and time regarding OFSC snowmobile trails. We remind riders that the OFSC is about riding trails, not travelling to them, so questions about travel restrictions on trailering away from home or outside your public health region should be directed to local law enforcement agencies as municipalities and public health units across Ontario have the authority to enact local restrictions in addition to provincial legislation.
The OFSC will continue to share updates as they become available about snowmobile trails as they become available to ensure snowmobilers are informed. Please check our website, Facebook Page and the OFSC newsletter regularly for these updates.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is a volunteer led, not for profit association that provides the voice for organized snowmobiling in Ontario. OFSC snowmobile trails managed by 200 community based, member clubs generate up to $3.3 billion in economic activity in the province each year.