Thunder Bay

Manitouwadge, Ont., hopes to re-open snowmobile trail to Marathon

Snowmobilers in Marathon, Ont., on the North Shore of Lake Superior, say they're at the end of the line when it comes to connecting trails from the eastern part of the province.
"The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, in partnership with the OPP is counting on all snowmobilers to take full responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their passengers and fellow riders this season." -- Andrew WALASEK, Director, Stakeholder Relations, OFSC (Marathon Sno-Kickers/Facebook)

Snowmobilers in Marathon, Ont., on the North Shore of Lake Superior, say they're at the end of the line when it comes to connecting trails from the eastern part of the province.

That may soon change, as the Township of Manitouwadge will hold a public meeting Thursday to look at reconnecting that community to Marathon. The link means a trail could then also be re-opened to Caramat, which would connect a number of snowmobile trails to the north of Lake Superior.

"This would support all three communities, Marathon, Manitouwadge and Greenstone because right now, there's no link," said Craig Colbourne, the Vice-President of the Algoma Sno-Plan Affiliation.

"So that'll be huge. Right now, both Marathon and Greenstone are dead ends for tourists, and most snowmobilers like to do loops. They don't like to ride the same trail, and ride back."

Colbourne, who is the past president of the Marathon Sno-Kickers snowmobile club, said the trail to Manitouwadge was closed around 2010, when the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs changed some policies, resulting in the local club folding, and closure of the trail linking Caramat, Manitouwadge and Marathon.
The Marathon Sno-Kickers hope in the coming seasons, they will be able to maintain and groom a trail between Mantiouwadge and Marathon, Ont. (Marathon Sno-Kickers/Facebook)

"To start out, they would probably be an extension of Marathon. Hopefully once they get off the ground, and get rolling, they can become their own entity."

In 2015, Colbourne said the Marathon club took over grooming trails in the White River area, and through to Dubreuilville. It allows the Marathon trails to then be accessed from riders coming from the east.

"The OFSC has had a bit of a change of attitude. They realize that not every little club can sell 50 permits, but they can have a very crucial link to the trail."

Colbourne said clubs still struggle to get all of their required trail maintenance done through the off season. However, he said large snowfalls along the North Shore, the groomer has already been out on the trails.

That means trails may be open before Christmas, Colbourne said, which is rare.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.