Think of crops when snowmobiling
Prince Edward Island is world famous for its food, but damage to fragile farmland in winter puts that in jeopardy.
Even when fields are covered in snow the Island’s agricultural land is extremely valuable and needs to be protected. If you’re heading out to snowmobile this weekend, some simple tips can protect you, the environment, and farmers.
Stick to the trail
PEI’s Conservation Officers patrol trails during snowmobile season in an effort to enforce snowmobile laws and protect valuable farmland and natural spaces throughout the province. Conservation Officer Peter Boudreau says that sticking to designated snowmobile trails helps prevent damage to fields and other sensitive areas.
“It’s frustrating to receive complaints about snowmobilers trespassing on private property because we know there is a vast trail system. Most snowmobilers abide by the rules in order to promote their sport and help protect the environment,” said Boudreau.
Conservation Officers enforce these rules to protect Island highways, seashores, farmlands, and wild places in an effort to promote public safety, preserve wildlife and the natural environment.
“We investigate all complaints received and enforce the laws because we have a duty to help Island landowners and protect their interests,” he added. “Maps of designated trails are handed out with yearly trail passes, available online and the trails are clearly marked with signage, so it’s easy to stick to the trails.”
Make sure you’re legal
When Mother Nature gives you great snow conditions, all Island sledders are excited to get out and enjoy the trails. Snowmobiles must be registered annually and licence plates must be attached to the rear and be visible, readable, and unobscured.
Snowmobile operators who wish to use the Confederation Trail must hold a valid permit from the PEI Snowmobile Association. They also have interactive trail maps so you can plan your routes ahead of time.
“Dress appropriately for variable winter conditions and don’t forget your safety gear. C.S.A. approved helmets must be worn by the operators and passengers and it’s good practice to have a safety kit on your sled,” added Boudreau. “But really, the most important safety message we have is to ride sober! Driving impaired by alcohol or drugs is against the law in or on any motor vehicle, including snowmobiles.”
PEI’s Conservation Officers are fully trained law enforcement personnel and are empowered to impose fines on snowmobile drivers who are caught riding private property without permission, careless driving, impaired driving, and other violations.