quote:Originally posted by sgRant
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.
I won't waste time with links but from experience, I sled over 8--100 days a year..at Brandywine, Rutherford, two of the largest sledding areas, you can not park without paying. They have a gate so no one can drive past. The payment booth is at the entrance to the parking lot and the clubs collect the fees through volunteers, mostly older guys who have sledded for eons.
They in turn send a portion to the snowmobile federation which goes to liability and keeping riding areas open. A certain amount is kept by the club. The person who clears the brandywine parking lot is the same volunteer who collects the fee, he is a large machine operator and brings in his machine and pays for the fuel...pretty amazing, he does get compensated but not to what he puts out...
When you discuss club fee's you have linked to the Black Tusk Snowmobile Club. They do not charge at the bottom since this does cost money to have someone in place on a consistent basis. Their club fee which is $250.00 included a trail fee and the use of the cabin, the first year you are allowed to use it whenever but a member has to be present to ensure you do things right....no water up there and a building burnt down years ago, they don't want that to happen again. Then in the second year you get your own key, you must do 10 hours of service each year. I know a bunch of people from the club and they are very nice...most of the grooming their is volunteer and the club does apply and get grants like mountain biking and other sports. I buy a trail pass their anyway, $100.00 since I know where it goes and I also buy one for Brandywine...a lot of people don't buy trail passes, like always some try and skim by....sad but it happens in every sport..
I am not here to convince any one to sled...or it is more pure...I also tour 40-50 days a year off my sled, at touring lodges and Cypress Trees...I love all sports and believe that the government should be putting more money into infrastructure. The problem is the backcountry people are a small group and within that there are those that say their day is ruined if they hear a sled or a helicopter, i understand that...then there are that don't care what they hear as it is usually not for long...I fall into this category...and then there are those that bag peaks etc...the mountain clubs have their own view so it is hard to get everyone on the same page and fight for what you want. I had a person, a young guy who was on the mountain club board and he said it was a bunch of fuddy old men who do not want the hut systems that would allow more people out, since they want to keep it small like it has always been. Most in the touring crowd are not fit enough to hike from the low down logging roads in the Sea 2 Sky...I am not suggesting they are not tough enough but if you work 5 days a week and have 8 days to play then your not going to get significantly fit to be able to tour fast enough to do this every weekend. Some do and that is awesome but would it not be better to fight for an area that you can use without any conflicts...instead of wasting energy saying backcountry skiing is more pure therefore it is better and should get better areas....how would this ever win. I had long talks with the land management of sea to sky and he said their are extremists on either side. when your an extremist sledder or hiker your ideas get tossed cause they are not for the great good of everyone!
Basically if your philosophy is that if your fitter your better and get to go where you want then I trump a lot of people, it has nothing to do with who is fitter or which sport has a lower environmental footprint it has to do with how many people in that sport are working together to encourage others to get out and enjoy and showing them how to do it and how to help pay and vote for more of those areas to play in an easier fashion...for the majority of the users!
I am one person, like Lee Lau who is out there on most days and I take a lot of people out on different forms, they are quite surprised how few people they see and how it is not overrun with sleds...now I am not suggesting that some of the group in the sledding community do not poach areas or litter etc. However this is not the bulk of the group. Just like hiking, I have seen litter, people going around closures and using closed trails as well as look at the Baden Powell and the erosion...it is the worse trail on the shore...except where other user groups have fixed it...my point is there is a small group of people in every user group that you can focus on...
The way i see it the best way to have better access is to fight for an area like park access where you can park at 3-4 thousand feet. the road is plowed for safety and so any snow tire care can make it to the parking lot...and then right from there you are touring to amazing terrain without any noise but your own to enjoy! Why do not want that....and why would you not focus your energy on that. Two people who are is Lee and Sharon, they know more about stuff then anyone and they are out more days than not and they are working on a hut system for the spearhead which is the most positive constructive bit I have seen from anyone...
Again I am not going to convince the majority of you to go sledding, nor do i want that, all I am is a reminder to you that what each user group is up to as I do it all....most of you know nothing about sledding except from what you see or hear...and most of it is not accurate...the fact is everyone has an opinion of what they like and no one likes it when people put hate on their sport...you don't have to enjoy it to realize others may and that is their right, to have something they enjoy even though you don't understand it...
I think all these areas should be user pay and allow more people to get out and enjoy things the best way they want..
Merry Christmas Everyone!