ST. PAUL – If your next snowmobiling trip has you considering the St. Paul Golf Course as a short cut to get to the Iron Horse Trail, you need to make alternate plans.
The town is reminding snowmobile riders to stay off the golf course this winter following issues with people driving their machines fast, and jumping over drifts, according to Kim Heyman, the Town of St. Paul’s chief administrative officer.
“We understand they are just getting to the trails, however, we know of a couple who go out of their way to damage the course and we definitely take issue with that,” Heyman told the Journal. “They have been asked to stop, so we’ll see what happens this year.”
Snowmobiles, especially on the greens and the fairways, can cause significant damage, Heyman said. A majority of riders do ride the machines along the sides of the fairways doing little or no damage, she added.
Danny Smyl, president of the St. Paul Trailblazers Snowmobile Club, says riders who choose to not follow rules madden him.
While the club currently only has about 35 registered snowmobilers, Smyl estimates there are hundreds of riders around town.
Riders in the club are aware of the town-approved rules and he says they are followed.
“We are limited to where we can ride to get to the trail,” Smyl said. “It’s maddening from my point of view, everyone we sign know the rules and that they aren’t allowed in any school zone, park or golf course.”
Smyl says riders are to take the most direct route from their home to hit the Iron Horse Trail and head out of town.
“There are designated routes around and they are supposed to take the closest back alley to get to the trail,” Smyl said. “There are only a select few bad sheep that cause this problem.”
Although using off highway vehicles (OHV) for recreational purposes may be fun, it does have the potential for personal injury or death if driven carelessly, according to the Town of St. Paul website, which also shares existing bylaws and provincial law guidelines for OHV users.
OHV’s are prohibited on environmental reserves, school property, parks and any land marked with signage; OHV operators are only allowed to drive to and from the Iron Horse Trail using back alleys or the most direct route; and, only Iron Horse Trail users are permitted to drive off the trail for gasoline, food or lodging purposes, according to the posted bylaws.
In November, the County of St. Paul declared a state of agricultural disaster due to a large number of crops that remain unharvested due to unfavourable weather in the fall.
In the media release sent out at the time, it stated: “With many crops remaining in the fields, residents and visitors to the County of St. Paul are asked to be mindful about hunting and winter recreation activities. Crops can be severely damaged by vehicle and snowmobile traffic; residents are reminded to obtain permission before travelling on what may appear to be open fields.”