Snowmobile ditch ban could hurt million dollar industry says federation

The head of the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association says banning off-road vehicles from driving in the ditches could ruin his industry

The joy for most snowmobilers is to be able go out the back door, hop on their machines and go says federation

P.E.I. Snowmobile Association president Dale Hickox. (Pat Martel/CBC)

The head of the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association says banning off-road vehicles from driving in the ditches could ruin the industry.

Dale Hickox said the industry would be hurt if snowmobilers couldn't travel in the ditches to get to the trails.

Calls for the ban were heard last week during a presentation to P.E.I.'s Standing Committee on Agriculture. Randy Pitre, manager of a blueberry field in Albany blamed snowmobilers for causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to the fields.  

Hickox said the industry would be hurt if snowmobilers couldn't travel in the ditches to get to the trails.

"Pretty much sure that it would shut down a $15-20 million a year economic impact on Prince Edward Island," he said.

"Snowmobilers spend a lot of money to be able to use their machines and travel. The ditches of course are very important because that allows you to actually get to the trails in some places."

Hickox said the association promotes awareness of private property and use of good judgement when riders are trying to get to the hundreds of kilometres of trails in the province.

He also disagrees with Pitre's suggestion that snowmobilers haul their machines around by trailer to get to the trails. Hickox said many drivers don't have trailers and don't live right on the trails.

Besides, Hickox said, the joy for most snowmobilers is to be able go out the back door, hop on their machines and go.

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