|Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 12:58 pm: |
Park to Park Users
Must Now Purchase
a Trail Pass
by Stephannie Johnson - Wednesday, August 31, 2005
PARRY SOUND - Starting early next month, bikers, ATVers and hikers using the Park-to-Park trail system can expect to have to pay a user fee.
At its August 25 meeting, the Park-to-Park board approved the implementation of a trail pass. According to Park-to-Park project co-ordinator Kirsten Spence, the idea of a trail pass has been discussed among other trail systems throughout the province.
“Regional groups like Park-to-Park have looked at this issue. The provincial organization, the Ontario Trails Council, has looked at this issue many times,” said Ms Spence. “There was a pilot project started in 2000, through the Ontario Trails Council in partnership with a trails group in the Belleville/Tweed area. They ran the Trillium Trail Pass as a pilot project for a year to see how accepted it would be and work out the bugs. It worked very well and they’re still running a trail pass some five years later.”
In the Belleville/Tweed area, the funds raised through the sale of the pass helped to offset trail maintenance costs, which is what the Park-to-Park board is hoping to do here.
“Park-to-Park has discussed this for a long time, and we always felt that it would be easier if the province implemented something and then we’d follow in under that,” Ms Spence said. “But it’s been so long in coming and there’s a fiscal need for maintenance money for the trail. We have some bridges, too, and no one seems to have any money to help pay for those things. That’s when the board started to seriously discuss this issue.”
The trail pass is to be an important element in securing funds to fix the
Crumbling infrastructure along the Seguin Trail. In July, Park-to-Park trail
staff, in consultation with their engineer, closed the Sword’s Bridge
because it was deemed unsafe for all trail traffic, including hikers and
cyclists. The Park-to-Park Trail Association is now faced with the
daunting task of raising $40,000 for replacement of the bridge. Trail
passes are part of the fundraising strategy. Trail passes on the Seguin
portion of the Park-to-Park Trail are a pilot project. Once the full impact
has been assessed, the association will determine if passes will be required
on the complete system. The Park-to-Park trail pass is being developed in
partnership with other trail organizations under the ATV Ontario banner.
This partnership will enable pass holders to enjoy reduced rates on other
partner trail systems. There were concerns about charging people a fee for
using vehicles on the trail system to access their cottages, but the board
removed that from the table. “We’re just implementing a fee for
recreational trail users at this point. Park-to-Park will be speaking with
each cottage association separately to come up with a way to have them
contributing to the trail without implementing a vehicle trail pass,” Ms
Spence said, adding that this was supported by the cottage representatives who sit on the board. The pass is to be implemented on an honourary compliance basis, to avoid the cost of having trail wardens on hand to ensure that people have a pass.
“Other trail groups have found that they have 90 per cent voluntary compliance with a trail pass. Most people are used to paying for trail passes. I’m sure that 90 per cent of the trail passes will be sold for ATVs,” Ms Spence said. “Also, when people know the money will be going directly back into the trail for maintenance, it gives them a bit of ownership of the trail.”
Trail passes will likely be available at the Parry Sound Information Centre
On Highway 400, south of Parry Sound, and at the Information Centre off
Highway 11 in Huntsville.
|Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 1:09 pm: |
I read this and fired off this email to Park to Park:
It has come to my attention that a user fee will be implemented for users
of the Seguin trail. I have been a regular user of the trail for more
than 30 years. I was in contact years ago with the Seguin Trail
Management Board and with Mike Schenk from the MNR. After the gas line was installed I was thoroughly assured that the income from Union Gas's right of way would easily pay for maintenance of the trail and eliminate the need to EVER charge user fees. It sounds like the users of the Seguin trail are paying for other parts of the P2P trail system. Is this the case? Where is the Union gas money going?
The timely response I received is below.
The Seguin Trail committee signed off on the Union Gas easement after a one time donation was made to the trail committee after the gas line construction was completed. Since, then Union Gas has only contributed $2,300 towards the trail. Park-To-Park Trail has been after them to contribute on a regular basis but they fall back to the sign off of the trail by the Seguin Trail Committee. Since the, the Seguin Trail Committee and Park-To-Park Trail merged after pressure from funders like municipalities who felt that both groups were basically undertaking the same work and therefore would only fund one group. Park-To-Park Trail then was able to secure a grant from MNR for $100,000 which went into upgrading the Seguin Trail only. Since then, we have been able to do small projects that benefit the Seguin Trail but the Board realized that a trail pass would have to be implemented to provide a stable long term funding mechanism for the Seguin Trail. Trails are expensive and we roughly need $75,000 /year to maintain the Seguin Trail only in proper form. This includes putting away capital replacement money for the 10 bridges found along the trail as well. I’m sure you realize, we currently need to replace the bridge at Swords which alone will cost $75,000.
We adopted a user pay system as a last resort, we held off in doing so trying to find money other places including corporate sponsorship. It was not an easy decision for the board but it was the only option other than letting the trail deteriorate back into what it was. I’m sure you’ve noticed how much the trail has been improved over the last few years. The revenue from the fees collected on the Seguin Trail will be put back into the Seguin Trail and will not be used to fund other sections of the Park-To-Park Trail.
Each section is unique as far as tenure and each municipality has a different idea of how the trail will be managed and maintained. The trail passes are also a method for other trail users other than snowmobiles to contribute to the maintenance of the trail.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.
Yours in Trails,
|Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 1:18 pm: |
Well, there you go. I guess Union Gas is stiffing us. I guess buying a trail pass is the only real solution to this funding problem and I feel better about paying for one if the money is being used only on the Seguin trail section of the P2P system. I am curious as to the cost they have decided on.
Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 10:21 pm: |
Okay, it's official. You need a trail pass to use the Seguin Trail.
Go to: http://parktoparktrail.com/tpass.html for the whole picture.
The trail passes are only (choke) $120.00. We are assured that ALL proceeds are going to trail maintenance. I guess it's to fix all the damage the snowmobilers have done in the winter. Maybe they will grind all the unending whoops they have caused out of the path. I sure hope they are faster to fix problems than last year.
I wrote another letter to the P2P people about the pass situation.
The following is an excerpt:
...For most of the riding season, there was a HUGE absolute DEATHTRAP of a washout at the Seguin Trail crossing, near South Seguin Estates road. It was about 15 feet deep and 60 feet long, on the steep grade down to the river. If you gingerly stepped to the edge, and peered over, you could see the exposed Union Gas line hanging in mid air in the gaping trench. This mini grand canyon was marked thoughtfully by a trail rider with a couple of sticks and old 3 foot piece of orange tape. The washout remained in this condition up until Thanksgiving, when I closed my cottage nearby and was done for the season. I think Union Gas should pay for the damage to the trail, after all it was their poor job of backfilling the trench for the gas main. If not, I suggest removing all the signs that say that the Seguin Trail is "Proudly supported by Union Gas".
There are several sections of the trail where dirt bikes are not allowed. With the advent of the paid trail pass, are the restrictions on this type of vehicle removed, negating the original intent of the restriction?
I believe that now we require a pass, hunters should be banned from the trail. In the fall it can be a scary place to walk, never mind ride. I have been told by a group of hunters that I met on the trail that we (my young son and I) "should not be on the trail this time of year, it's dangerous". The rules hunters must adhere to are sometimes not followed. I have seen hunters in the wood right beside the trail in the 50 ft right of way, shooting parallel to it.
Finally, what are the plans to routinely inspect the trail or will you be relying on called in reports of matters that need attention?
--end of letter
I hope with all the money they collect from the trail passes, they can buy a couple of more rolls of orange tape and some better sticks.
(Message edited by admin on April 10, 2007)