Sign in to follow this  
jhwentworth

NHSA opinion piece on free riders

Recommended Posts

I recently came across a guest opinion piece on the NHSA web site titled " The Face Of Snowmobiling Continues To Change ". The story is dated December 2017 and originated in Supertrax magazine, It advocates for the inclusion of the "free rider" (off-trail riding) into the older, trail-oriented, club-based generation of sled riders.  While I don't see much of a future for a great amount of off-trail riding in NH, maybe it would work in some selected areas of public land here, and would probably work well in the western US where there are large tracts of uninhabited public land

There's no indication that the NHSA endorses the ideas behind the Snotrax story, and the story's message is contrary to the NHSA's traditional positions.Still, it's interesting that NHSA would put this message on their web site.

Long-time NH riders might remember what the early days of NH sledding were like, and why the snowmobile clubs, the trail system, and NHSA, were formed. The southern half of NH has become even more populated, with much of the growth in suburban and rural areas.

Anyway, an interesting story to read, even if you disagree with the author.

Update: The original Snotrax story can be found here: http://www.supertraxmag.com/features/the-changing-face-of-snowmobiling/n3337

Read the comments and you'll see many of the same arguments that you've seen on SledNH or heard at any gathering of sledders. I think you'll find that one or more of the comments reflect your opinion. 

 

Edited by jhwentworth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The logic and arguments about off trail anything (Snowmobiling, ATV's, dirt bikes etc) is getting older than dirt, and not much ever seems to get resolved. Back in the day, I rode dirt bikes in Northern Mass. pretty much anywhere and never really had any issues with access to where we wanted to ride. We did make a mess of things in muddy areas, but never really got in trouble. Started riding Pittsburg in the early 80's when there was less traffic, hardly any long track dedicated mountain vehicles, and went into some areas that were definitely off trail, limited only by where we dare take a trail sled.  Often times during that period of time, we would bump into Fish and Game out there and they were only concerned with us knowing where we were and how to get out safely. Between then and now, the evolution of the average sled has taken a definite turn towards off trail design, long,deep paddle tracks, giant motors, riser bars all contribute to comfort hitting it hard on mountain terrain. A visit to any gas stop in the area shows that the popularity of this type of sled is dominating the trails as well as "protected areas".  The manufacturers of these machines could care less if people use them in protected areas, and are in a sense, shooting themselves in the foot, by causing trail closures and related problems which impact future sales.  Another issue that has not been raised is the level of damage that paddle tracks cause on groomed trails, even with careful riding. You only have to follow a deep paddle rider to see the impact of one pass on fresh groomed snow.  The clubs end up on the receiving end of complaints that the frequency of passes is inadequate.  Complex issues that are weaved together in a mix of cause and effect that has no simple resolution............

path:wacko:finder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted this here in 2014, not much has changed I guess. 

 

 

I think the idea of getting the people who would like to ride off trail involved with the clubs (and for the clubs to accept them), and work with landowners where possible to define acceptable places to ride is the best answer. that doesn't mean showing up at a meeting and asking someone to define it for them; it means really getting involved.

Trails will continue to close if the off trail riders continue to ride where they are not wanted, which isn't good for any of us. I'm not into the off trail stuff, don't really understand the draw, but am fine with it as long as riders have permission to use the areas where they ride. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, pathfinder said:

The logic and arguments about off trail anything (Snowmobiling, ATV's, dirt bikes etc) is getting older than dirt, and not much ever seems to get resolved. Back in the day, I rode dirt bikes in Northern Mass. pretty much anywhere and never really had any issues with access to where we wanted to ride. We did make a mess of things in muddy areas, but never really got in trouble. Started riding Pittsburg in the early 80's when there was less traffic, hardly any long track dedicated mountain vehicles, and went into some areas that were definitely off trail, limited only by where we dare take a trail sled.  Often times during that period of time, we would bump into Fish and Game out there and they were only concerned with us knowing where we were and how to get out safely. Between then and now, the evolution of the average sled has taken a definite turn towards off trail design, long,deep paddle tracks, giant motors, riser bars all contribute to comfort hitting it hard on mountain terrain. A visit to any gas stop in the area shows that the popularity of this type of sled is dominating the trails as well as "protected areas".  The manufacturers of these machines could care less if people use them in protected areas, and are in a sense, shooting themselves in the foot, by causing trail closures and related problems which impact future sales.  Another issue that has not been raised is the level of damage that paddle tracks cause on groomed trails, even with careful riding. You only have to follow a deep paddle rider to see the impact of one pass on fresh groomed snow.  The clubs end up on the receiving end of complaints that the frequency of passes is inadequate.  Complex issues that are weaved together in a mix of cause and effect that has no simple resolution............

path:wacko:finder

Very well put Armand. I wish you a very merry Christmas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Freedom Rider said:

Very well put Armand. I wish you a very merry Christmas.

Back atcha, Freedom Rider! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

pathB)finder

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I am not a big off trail rider but can see the lure if you have the right sled....maybe this has been discussed or asked in the past but why don't clubs allow riders to go off trail:

  • under power lines if a trail is there? 
  • or a designated area up North or somewhere else in which it is clearly marked?

Ski areas did this years ago since so many New England skiers wanted to go through the woods or off trail when it became popular due to the West coast influence or above tree line skiing.

This could be an easy offering to keep rogue riders from riding in fields or woods that they should not be....just a thought.

Any body riding next Saturday on opening day? I hope to be somewhere for atleast a little bit.

Ride Right Ride Safe and Ride On ......

Edited by Airtime006

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/7/2018 at 10:13 AM, pathfinder said:

Often times during that period of time, we would bump into Fish and Game out there and they were only concerned with us knowing where we were and how to get out safely.

Yes, that's true, and that's because the F&G wasn't taking any heat from the landowner about sleds on the property. NH has pretty good limited liability laws for recreational use on private property, but OHRV (sleds, ATV, dirt bike) users are a special case in that they're required to have written permission or be on a club trail. A hiker doesn't have this restriction. Our laws are not set up to support wide-scale off-trail riding and it's lasted as long as it has because landowners didn't object too loudly. There's a new generation of large landowners in northern NH that view the land an income stream rather than just a source of raw material. How will that fit in with motorized recreational use of the land?

How many here have heard about the Heartwood Forestland company? They own about 150,000 acres of forestland in Coos County. How much noise could they make?

Edited by jhwentworth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Airtime006 said:

OK, I am not a big off trail rider but can see the lure if you have the right sled....maybe this has been discussed or asked in the past but why don't clubs allow riders to go off trail:

  • under power lines if a trail is there? 
  • or a designated area up North or somewhere else in which it is clearly marked?

Ski areas did this years ago since so many New England skiers wanted to go through the woods or off trail when it became popular due to the West coast influence or above tree line skiing.

This could be an easy offering to keep rogue riders from riding in fields or woods that they should not be....just a thought.

Any body riding next Saturday on opening day? I hope to be somewhere for atleast a little bit.

Ride Right Ride Safe and Ride On ......

Most power lines in NH are easements over private land for the sole purpose of providing electric service. The club gets permission to create a trail from the private landowner, not for permission to use the whole property. Most of the riding up north is also on private property.

The ski areas mostly own or lease their land, and the operation is run as a business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this