Time is running out for major 2015 trail permit discount

MANITOULIN—There is just two weeks left to receive a 30 percent discount on the 2015 Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trail permit when you buy online and the Manitoulin Snowdusters Snowmobile Club is hoping the Island community will show its support and do just that.

Called the ‘extra early bird special,’ the cost until October 31 for a regular trail permit is $180, down 30 percent from the regular $260 price.

“We are encouraging people to buy early so clubs know where they stand financially going into the season,” said Snowdusters media rep Brad Middleton. “This also stops people from waiting until January to buy.”

Mr. Middleton said the club realizes that people want to wait and see if there will be a season, or snow, but this doesn’t help the club that is already struggling with declining sales.

From November 1 to December 1, the permit then costs $210, still a discount from the regular price, but come December 2, that price goes back to full price.

The trail permit fee is shared between the OFSC and the Snowdusters, but when purchased online, a box indicating the ‘Manitoulin Snowdusters’ must be clicked in order for the club to receive its share.

Mr. Middleton said the club also hopes to emphasize that the Green Bush trail, C107D, which saw major issues last year due to the construction of the McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm, has been remedied. “The problems that revolved around the windmills are all resolved,” he said. “The trail is back to normal, as it was.”

The Snowdusters are also anxiously awaiting word that they have been approved for funding help for a new groomer for the east end of the Island. Another reason why trail permit support is so crucial, Mr. Middleton explained, is that the cost for the groomer is $202,000 and the cost of diesel fuel for the Island’s trail groomer for last season alone came in at $11,565.85.

“For people who complain about the price of trail permits, all you have to do is pull up to the pumps and see the cost of grooming,” he added.

While many clubs across Ontario have experienced a decline in permit sales, the last two years have been the exception with an increase in sales by 21 percent—a good sign for the sport.

“Snowmobile sales have increased double digits and the price for second hand sleds have gone way up,” Mr. Middleton said.

The OFSC is again offering classic sled permits for snowmobiles dated 1999 or older at $140 until December 1 when they then rise to $170.

Encouraging a new generation of riders, the Snowdusters’ Dayle Wright will be offering a drivers’ training course for all of Manitoulin on November 29 in Gore Bay where youngsters will learn the ins and outs of snowmobiling before receiving their motorized snow vehicle licences. The course is for kids aged 12 and up to qualify for the licence necessary to drive a snowmobile. Space is limited, so those interested in registering are encouraged to call Ms. Wright at 705-282-2975 or by emailing her at wrightd@rainbowchools.ca.

“And remember, “ Mr. Middleton concluded, “The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting another severe winter, just like last year.”

Visit the OFSC website to purchase your extra early bird permit at www.ofsc.on.ca