Snowmobiling in Huron
While winter can often seem like a long period of bitter cold, shoveling snow and hours and hours of darkness, from the seat of a snowmobile, Huron County’s winters can be a time to treasure and have fun.
Because there are trails criss-crossing the province and the county, snowmobilers can visit Huron County from anywhere in Ontario and vice-versa thanks to the efforts of groups like the Brussels and Walton Trailblazers Snowmobile Club and the North Huron Trail Groomers Inc.
Snowmobiling is dependent on snow, of course, so while there isn’t a definitive start or end to the snowmobiling season, once the snow starts making a permanent home on the fields and in the bushes, trail groomers will be out in force to get the trails ready for licensed snowmobilers to make use of. From there, it’s just a matter of time until snowmobilers can hit the trails and enjoy Huron County’s winter wonderlands.
Permits for the 2020-2021 season are still available online at a cost of $220 plus a processing fee. (Each year early bird discounts are available before December 1st). Special “classic” permit prices are set for owners of antique snowmobiles at a rate of $150 plus a processing fee. Temporary permits are also available if you are only able to get out for a weekend.
The permits are just like licence plates on cars and are the property of the Ministry of Transportation, however the money from the sale of permits goes to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), not the ministry.
The OFSC and member clubs take the funds from the sale of permits and use them for maintaining the more-than 40,000 kilometres of trails in Ontario.
All permit holders also receive a copy of the OFSC Trail Guide, which includes lists and maps of all the trails in the province.
Permits are also available for youth drivers from ages 12 to 16, though due to the fact that those drivers can’t have normal driving licences, they need a special permit.
Classes are available throughout the winter to help teach the skills and etiquette necessary on the trail.
To take part in the course, participants must be at least 12 years of age, however the courses are for all ages. Whether riders are young or experienced, new to snowmobiles or seasoned sled operators, the course offers a great experience for all riders.
The courses must be pre-registered and will consist of six hours of classroom training. Participants who complete the course will receive a snow vehicle operator’s licence.
It is important to note that snowmobiling on or across any road is illegal for operators under the age of 16.
Riders need to keep an eye on the OFSC website once the snow starts flying. Trail reports and updates are available on the site as soon as the trails are open.
Safety always comes first for groomers and trail maintenance workers, and the trails are patrolled to ensure that. OPP, alongside club wardens, are on the trails and riders found without permits can be fined up to $1,000.
The OFSC reminds all riders, on their website, that trails do not denote ownership, and land that is offered to the clubs should be treated with respect as riders are guests on it. While trails may be prescribed or suggested by the OFSC, they still belong to the landowner. Access to the trail map can be found at their interactive website www.https://ofsc.evtrails.com/#
Huron County is part of District 9 of the OFSC. District 9 borders on Lake Huron and covers an area as far south as Mitchell, Wellesley and Cambridge, as far west as the lakeshore and as far east as Shelburne and Guelph.