The region’s snowmobile club signs an agreement with GRCA for 13 km of trail use

MAPLETON – The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) and the Lake Conestoga Snowmobilers have finally agreed to allow snowmobile use on 13 kilometers of trails in the Township of Mapleton.

The GRCA, OFSC and the Conestoga Lake Snowmobilers have been trying to reach an agreement for two years after the OFSC discovered that the volunteer snowmobile clubs had signed agreements with the GRCA that were not covered by the police of OFSC Commercial General Liability Insurance. Ultimately, exposing volunteers to uninsured risks.

“A lot of misconceptions are circulating that our organization changed insurance and wanted the deal changed, and that’s not true,” said OFSC District 9 official Karen Buratynski.

“What happened two years ago was that our parent organization looked at the insurance contract and pointed out the clauses that were outside of what we can cover, and we respectfully went to the GRCA. We asked them to change the terms of the agreement so that we only provide commercial liability insurance for normal snowmobile club operations.

We also advised them that we could not insure any other users they invited on the trails or insure them for any negligence on the part of their organization. That’s why we couldn’t agree on parcels of land where snowmobiles are allowed.

In the summer of 2019, the District 9 snowmobile clubs of Mapleton, Wellington North and Center Wellington were advised that their insurance policy no longer met the obligations set out in the agreements with the GRCA.

From 2019 to 2021, the two parties could not agree, and as a result, 47 kilometers of snowmobile trails on GRCA property throughout the county were removed from all snowmobile trail maps; no one could use these trails.

The GRCA reviewed its trail system and recommended that the trails not be open to the general public and that limited use be considered for snowmobiles.

They came to the conclusion that only the 13 kilometers of trail that runs northwest to southeast along Conestoga Lake in Mapleton met the recommendation and could only be used for snowmobiles.

The deal also includes access to a pavilion on Mapleton’s property.

However, the remaining 34 kilometers of trails on other GRCA properties in the county, including 14 km in Wellington North, remain closed to snowmobiling.

“We had respectfully asked the GRCA to reinstate all 47 kilometers of trails, but when we started to go down the discussion route, it was fairly quickly determined that at this point we could only agree on 13 kilometers. of trail use,” explained Buratynski.

The GRCA has still not accepted some exposure to risk and liability from its liability insurance policy, according to Buratynski.