In my many years as a recreational vehicle enthusiast, I have witnessed many questionable acts by some trail users. However, one observation brings me disgust when I ride my snowmobile. Even though I try to concentrate on the vehicles I am riding, my attention is constantly diverted to the multiple pieces of garbage that litter the trails.

This sad observation made me wonder about some snowmobilers’ respect towards the environment surrounding us. Don’t worry, I am not fooled and I am aware that this behaviour is not generalized and that it is practiced by a minority of users. However, it is true to say that it affects the bucolic landscape that we have come to expect while snowmobiling.

Please, pick up your trash!

The forest is the natural habitat of wild animals.

Let’s be aware of one thing, we are considered guests when we walk through the forest. The wild animals have created their habitat there and we have to act responsibly. Rightly so, when we receive guests at our home for any reason, we expect them to have a cleanliness policy. If they don’t, many of us will have the reflex to strike those rascals off our guest list. These rascals will certainly no longer have the leisure to soil the places that belong to us.

In the same vein, why should we tolerate our forests and nature being polluted with all kinds of waste? It makes sense to leave this ecosystem as pristine as possible. The animals that live there do not have the power to expel litter, but we must respect this place as theirs by right.

Isn't it nice to walk on trails that are free of litter?
Isn’t it nice to walk on trails that are free of litter?

Landowner’s rights.

Unless we are travelling on our own land, for the most part, we are travelling on portions of land owned by someone else. This individual is entitled to civility from the users in terms of cleanliness. He will not want to find materials covering the ground on either side of his lot.

Imagine if one of your wastes ended up in the pasture where a farmer lets his cattle graze the following summer. The absorption of foreign material by one of his cows could cause serious health problems and even death. Apart from the loss of a living being, a financial loss would be absorbed by this entrepreneur who candidly wanted to give up a portion of his land for off-road vehicle traffic. He will certainly want to revoke this privilege to snowmobilers, without equivocation.

I have also witnessed in the past, a vegetable producer who was refused a lot of carrots because his buyer had found a pint of oil in his delivery. The story did not confirm beyond any doubt if the origin of this waste was due to one of the followers who passed over his lot of land. However, the result was that the club had to relocate its trail the following year of its property. It is sad to see that there was negligence and that the club had to pay thousands of dollars in this story.

So bring your trash back!

You don’t have to be part of the problem; you have to be part of the solution. If for some reason I had the ability to carry luggage and food when I was on the trail, I still have the ability to carry it on the return trip. It’s that simple!

Just to be sure, bring a garbage bag with you on your hikes to put your trash and maybe even your companions’ trash in. Be a role model for your friends and family. Educate them on the benefits of keeping our nature as clean and pristine as possible.

Bring your trash back

Remember that most of the garbage found along the trails is not biodegradable. It is a nuisance to everyone and a stain on our record. We must minimize the ecological footprint of our motorized activities for their survival. The detractors of our activity will want to use this argument to harm us sooner or later. Let’s not make it that easy for them. It is nonsense!

Those who jeopardize our beautiful activity, find another hobby because we do not want you in our structure anymore. This may be brutal at first, but it reflects my way of seeing the situation. If there are those who do not want to join the ranks, even though we are lenient and try our best to teach them good behaviour, we suggest they find another activity that will not jeopardize ours.

While this may seem offensive, I sincerely believe that my thoughts will resonate everywhere. Therefore, the Quebec Federation of Snowmobile Clubs and its member clubs are surely fed up with these acts of bad behaviour.

What can we do?

Your Snowmobile.ca magazine has decided to do its part to turn things around. During our rides, we commit ourselves to bringing back our personal waste and some others that we will find on our way. In this way, we will counteract the effects of certain polluters on our beautiful and wide-open spaces.

If you are also interested in this initiative, do not hesitate to put your shoulder to the wheel. Be sure to provide a space on your snowmobile and a bag of garbage for this purpose. Collectively, we will clean up our trails and make nature beautiful and clean for us and future generations.

Our editor, Denis Lavoie, practices good habits to preserve our environment
Our editor, Denis Lavoie, practices good habits to preserve our environment

 

Isn’t this a great project that will make us proud to be responsible snowmobilers? Don’t hesitate to share photos on social networks of your great actions to encourage other people like us to do the same. It is in a common effort that we will succeed because we owe it to future generations.

In conclusion, without wanting to be moralizing, I hope to have proposed awareness for many followers. Our actions have repercussions that are sometimes much more severe than we imagine. It is simply a matter of being aware of it!

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