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Fair play on trails


Dear editor, It’s that time of the year again where I, along with thousand of others, get ripped off and feel like that honesty and obeying the letter of the law is not the best virtues to have. Yes, it’s the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation’s (NLSF) annual rip-off sale, the Trail Pass Scam.

I have no problem with user-pay economics, and I have no problem paying for the upkeep of our trail system if it were done in a fair and equitable basis.

I paid my $80 last year for my pass, I traveled 13 kilometres on the trail here in central Newfoundland that did not see a groomer for the entire winter, yet it was used by ATV users for the whole year, dirt bikes for 8-9 months, skiers for 4-5 months, walker and joggers for 12 months, and at times automobiles. My two short rides cost me $40 per ride plus expenses, while the rest of the non-snowmobile users used it for free. The question as to be asked, is this fair to snowmobilers? I think not. I would also argue that 95 per cent of the damage to the trail system isn’t caused by snowmobiles, but other types of vehicles yet we have to pay 100 per cent of the upkeep.  

Once again the NLSF is deceiving its potential customers by not giving enough notice about when the early bird prices are going to end. I listen to the radio almost every day, and I have heard only one announcement about the early bird deadline, which prompted me to save $20. Also, their deception doesn’t stop there, they claim on their ad that the prices for the trail passes are $80 for the early bird prices and $100 after Nov 30, but they failed to let us know that this year it costs an extra $4.52 for administration cost and you don’t get a booklet or a trail map with your trail pass. Note: There isn’t any mention on the NLSF website about this administration cost.

If I had the financial or legal means to challenge the NLSF’s right to charge me for the use of a publicly-owned and, at times, privately-owned trail system, plus their deceptive advertising, I would do it in a heart beat. But that’s not possible. However, I can only hope that someday someone will put an end to this injustice

Due to constraints, I must conclude, even though I have a lot more to say. Government must act to control the NLSF or have it decertified — if it’s accredited in the first place. It must put into place an organization that will make it fair to all trail system users that use motorized vehicles on the system and not discriminate against just one group — the snowmobilers. This trail system caters to all types of motorized vehicles; therefore all users of motorized vehicles must share in the responsibility in the maintenance and the administration of that trail system.

 

Brian Pollard

Bishop’s Falls

 

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