quote:sledders actually buy a trail pass at all areas in the sea 2 sky for $100.00 per year, this allows them 5 free days and then $10.00 per visit anywhere, we also pay per sled not a per vehicle. We pay for parking lot clearing, groomers and grooming...
I thought I'd check into this. So far as I can see, snowmobilers in the Sea to Sky corridor can contribute different ways: joining a club for $200-300, paying a lump sum $100 trail fee, or a $15 per day fee.
It would appear the main parking points are at Brandywine, Callaghan/Sproatt, Brohm Ridge, Rutherford and Soo. There is also heavy but informal use on the High Falls Creek Road and other places.
The club fees pay for all sorts of things such as cabin maintenance, trail grooming, websites, lobbying, trail clearing, insurance and, yes, parking lot clearance. The trail fees presumably pay only for trail maintenance, but mostly for grooming.
Non-snowmobilers may not be aware that snowmobiles have the unfortunate characteristic of turning smooth snow into washboard. So typically snowmobile clubs hire or buy heavy equipment to smooth out their trails. Sort of like flattening moguls at a downhill ski area. This is a very costly thing to do. Groomers get abysmal mileage and cost a fortune.
However, the fees are not mandatory and snowmobilers are free to use the parking lots and trails without paying anything. Fees are collected by the clubs, not some government agency. I was unable to determine who actually clears the parking lots, but it's possible it's done by the same company that does the highway. Given what trail grooming costs, I'm also sure that only a very small proportion of any fees paid go toward lot clearance.
The differences with self-propelled backcountry users are that the fees are applied to everyone, the routes are not groomed, the parking space needed per person is minimal, and the fees don't end up being used for cabins and so forth. These backcountry access fees are collected by quasi-government agencies.
So it looks to me like the way backcountry skiers and snowshoers are treated is substantially different from how the snowmobilers are handled. Despite the fact that whatever obfuscating things some people have to say, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing have the lowest impact and the highest benefits.
I welcome being corrected on the trail fees information, especially if the corrections include links so I can verify any information.