OPTA president reflects on snowmobile season
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
The abundance of snowfall this winter may have some dreaming of the inevitable melt, but for area snowmobile enthusiast, it has been a winter to remember.
“This has been a really good winter and I’m hoping that we’re still going to have another couple of weeks of riding before it needs to be shut down for the season,” shared Dean Osmond, President of the Ojibway Power Toboggan Association (OPTA), when asked about this past season.
Osmond went on to add, “I’d say we got so much snow this year that the trails are still in fairly good shape. There are a couple trails that are very limited, like our trail to Ignace. Because of the road that is often plowed down, that’s pretty limited right now, so I’m sure it’ll be closed down very soon. But for the trails around town, and the trails going to Dryden, they are all still open and they are in fabulous shape.” Osmond noted, “It doesn’t take long to melt but we’ve got a good base. The groomer’s been out, and we are still grooming the trails, so it’s been an awesome season this year.”
It was also a season of growth for the club which saw a 1.8 percent increase in memberships with 273 seasonal permits sold.
Osmond expressed his gratitude for all the volunteers that worked tirelessly to get the trails open and ready for use, stating, “I hope that everybody had a really good snowmobiling season! I’d really like to thank all our volunteers that kept our trails open, and our trials groomed this season. There was a lot of work this year with the blowdowns that we had in the summer. We only just got Donut Bay open in the last couple of weeks. That’s our L702 trail and the guys worked on that diligently. There was a lot more work this year just to get the trails open just because of all the blowdown we had because of that storm in June. So, I just think there’s a lot of kudos that need to go out to all the volunteers that went out and maintained our trails and groomed our trails, because without those volunteers we wouldn’t have a trail system here.”
While Osmond encourages riders to enjoy the trails while they can, he also wants riders to be aware of ice conditions before heading out, stating, “People should be checking trail conditions on the OPTA Facebook page. Stay on the marked trail and don’t veer off trail as currents erode the ice underneath.”
Once warmer temperatures make maintaining the trails impossible, the club will start removing trail markers and signage. “Once we close our trials and the sun gets warm enough to melt the stakes out, they will be removed. Those are the last things we do. Our signage and our stakes.”
Looking ahead, the club is hoping to host a general meeting now that restrictions will allow. Osmond explained, “We are hopefully going to have a general meeting shortly now that all the restrictions have been dropped. We have three board positions that are up for elections, and so is my position as president. We are currently looking for a secretary as well. So, we would hope people come out and volunteer. We do not yet have a date for that general meeting but that is something that we will be posting on Facebook and on our website.”