Since the inception of the snowmobile there has been two constants in the sport: Like death and taxes, you can count on our need for private landowners to graciously allow us to travel on their private land. Alternatively, you can also count on a minority of snowmobilers to disrespect the granted privilege with the decision to off-trail trespass.
Trail Loss: The Dark Side of Our Sport
We all know that this behavior is a cognizant decision made by the operator of the machine, as are the potential consequence of these actions: Trail loss.
Every single year in NH, and all around the Northeast, we continue to deal with trail losses due to the few riders that decide the rules don’t apply to them, that dipping off the marked trail isn’t a big deal and it won’t affect anyone.
That’s all fine and dandy until it does affect them, and countless more outside of them – like a ripple across a pond.
Respect Landowners and Club Volunteers
Somehow, no matter how many times clubs, landowners and state officials preach, there seems to be a complete lack of accountability for one’s actions.
It’s never anyone’s fault, the finger is always pointed in the other direction, or an excuse is made.
Social media fights ensue, evidentiary photos are displayed, clubs and landowners are enraged, poor words are used, and ultimately – nothing is solved.
Trail access is once again stripped from those that love the sport and play by the rules. The selfish continue on their disrespectful way.
Trail Loss 101: Please Stay on Trail
Trail Loss 101 is going to be a new segment shining a light on detrimental actions that cause trail loss and the amount of work that goes into negotiating with landowners, some of which are quite upset.
By sharing club stories and perspectives we hope to educate newcomers, and more importantly, curb some of the bad actors that threaten our sport.
We will be working to educate everyone on the differences between legal backcountry riding vs. illegal off-trail trespassing, as well as ongoing efforts with landowners and state officials for legal options and permissions.
New Signs: Please Stay on Trail
Finally, the NHSA has come up with a new sign that you may spot on the trails this season. The signs “Don’t Take NH for Granite” will be distributed to clubs across the state to be used in “trail loss sensitive” areas.
These sensitive areas will be identified by clubs that have been warned of potential loss of trail access by the landowner.
Our hope is that riders will pay heed to the signs, stay on the marked trail, and continue on their best behavior to preserve the permission to use the land.
We thank the TC Energy Foundation for funding to produce the important signs.
No Trails Equals No Snowmobiles
Sit down, buckle up and enjoy this new series. It may not be all rainbows and butterflies, and it could ruffle some feathers. Hopefully it will create some personal accountability and get riders to self-police their friends. Remember – without the trails, your $20,000 snowmobile is just a fancy lawn aerator.
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