News/Events

01

PEISA Saddened with the Passing of Mr. Gerry Martin

The Prince Edward Island Snowmobile Association recently lost long-time family member Mr. Gerry Martin of Tignish. Mr. Martin was President of the PEISA for several years and was very instrumental in the conversion of the old CN railway system into our existing snowmobile trail system. Gerry worked tirelessly on our behalf with government in order for us to gain winter access to this major connection of our trail system. Gerry was also heavily involved in the introduction of our Trail Warden Program and a huge supporter of mandatory permits. In 2012 Gerry was honored as the only Prince Edward Islander to be given the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award Medal for his dedication and support of snowmobiling on PEI. Gerry was also one of 4 original PEISA Hall of Fame inductee’s in 2015. I am sure I speak for all snowmobilers on PEI when I send my condolences to his family and thank him for his many contributions over the years.

Dale Hickox, President
PEI Snowmobile Association

02

PEI's Confederation Trail Reserved for Snowmobilers When the Snow is Here

P.E.I.'s Confederation Trail reserved for snowmobilers when the snow is here
Alison Jenkins • Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Published: a day ago
Updated: 3 hours ago
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P.E.I. Snowmobile Association president Dale Hickox, left, and vice-president Grant Peters pose for a photo near the Confederation Trail in Winsloe. The group is concerned at the number of near-misses involving walkers and dogs on the Confederation Trail and reminds Islanders that while there is snow on the trails a lease agreement with the province says snowmobiles have the right of way.
P.E.I. Snowmobile Association president Dale Hickox, left, and vice-president Grant Peters pose for a photo near the Confederation Trail in Winsloe. The group is concerned at the number of near-misses involving walkers and dogs on the Confederation Trail and reminds Islanders that while there is snow on the trails a lease agreement with the province says snowmobiles have the right of way. - Alison Jenkins
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The Confederation Trail has been turned over to the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association for the winter after a recent snowfall on Jan. 3.

The trails are reserved for the snowmobile association in the winter, and the volunteer-led group manages and maintains the snow surface for its members.

Association president Dale Hickox is reminding walkers to stay off the trails while they are being maintained for snowmobile traffic.

“It’s for your own safety,” he said.

In recent years, there have been a number of close calls between snowmobiles and a person or an off-leash dog on the trail.

Winter use

The lease agreement between the province and the association stipulates that, while the association is in charge, the Confederation Trail is for snowmobiles only.

The dates for the snowmobilers used to be set from Dec. 1 to March 31, but that changed in 2016. Now the lease comes into effect when there is enough snow for the association to groom the trails.

Hickox understands people who use the Confederation Trail in the summer would naturally want to be on it in the winter as well.

“I get that,” he said. “I want the walkers on it if we’re not there.”

In seasons like this one with its late snow, summer rules remain in effect until the tip-to-tip network is snow-covered and ready for the “sleds” as enthusiasts call their snowmobiles.

Now that there is enough snow to have association members out and about, Hickox reminds everyone that even though the hard-packed snow is a tempting way to explore winter, it’s not the same trail as in summertime.

The speed limit in rural areas is 80 km/hr, and the snowmobiles “don’t stop in a second,” he said, adding most of the machines are a lot quieter than they used to be and can catch people unaware.

“In the summer, you don’t have to worry, it’s only a bicycle coming behind you. But in the wintertime, it’s a motorized vehicle that’s coming and it’s going a lot faster than a bicycle,” he said.

P.E.I. Snowmobile Association vice-president Grant Peters points out the trail permit on his sled. Fees from these trail permits are what keeps the snowmobile trails groomed for members. - Alison Jenkins
P.E.I. Snowmobile Association vice-president Grant Peters points out the trail permit on his sled. Fees from these trail permits are what keeps the snowmobile trails groomed for members. - Alison Jenkins



Better education

At the end of last season, Hickox and the association were in discussion with the province about putting up signs at road crossings to help educate trail users of the winter rules.

It didn’t happen this year, but Hickox hopes if the association gets the signs in time for next year, the provincial workers could put them up when they open the gates at each road crossing in advance of the snowmobile season.

Destinie Graham, a new P.E.I. resident, agreed signs would help.

“I moved from out of province, so I had no idea about the snowmobile association having exclusive rights to the trail until it was mentioned by a community member. Signage would help to inform people who may not be on social media,” she said.

For now, Hickox said the association is planning a radio campaign to help educate people about safety on the Confederation Trail in winter.

City limits traffic

Summerside city council has closed the gates to snowmobiles this winter, but it hasn’t been a smooth transition.

To keep the Confederation Trail inside the city safe for non-motorized users, JP Desrosiers asked that the gates at road crossings at city limits stay closed this winter. However, on Jan. 12, Summerside council heard complaints from residents that there are still some snowmobiles zipping around on the Confederation Trail in the city.

Hickox said they are most likely city residents heading to or from the trails.

Two years ago, the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association (PEISA), which holds the rights to use most of the Confederation Trail across P.E.I. in winter, opened a bypass around the north side of Summerside.

Signage is in place to indicate the preferred pathway around the city.

While Desrosiers said he wants to keep the Summerside trails safe, Mayor Basil Stewart would like to find a way for the city to benefit economically from the snowmobilers, who have been in the habit of accessing gas and food at some city business. PEISA president Dale Hickox says the town has built up and this practice is getting dangerous.

Desrosiers said he will contact the PEISA and report back to council later.

https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/peis-confederation-trail-reserved-for-snowmobilers-when-the-snow-is-here-541558/

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