Province invests in smoother trails

Dave Stewart
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

P.E.I. Snowmobiling Association given cheque for $119,000 to help buy new grooming equipment

Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley, left, hands Dale Hickox, president of the P.E.I. Snowmobiling Association, a cheque for $119,000 Thursday to help the association groom its trails this winter. Getting ready to go for a ride is snowmobiling enthusiast Micaela Thompson.


CORNWALL — The provincial government is giving Island snowmobilers a smoother ride on the trails this winter.

Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley handed the P.E.I. Snowmobiling Association a cheque for $119,000 here on Thursday to help the group provide safe snowmobiling trails.

The money is coming out of the Island Community Fund and will be used to buy new trail grooming equipment with the association contributing an additional $178,000.

“This is huge for snowmobiling on Prince Edward Island,’’ Dale Hickox, president of the snowmobilers association, told The Guardian in an interview. 

“We’ve been doing our grooming over the last number of years and our equipment has been getting very outdated.

“There’s been a lot of problems and it makes it hard to do what we want to do — to have our trails ready for our members.’’

There are approximately 1,100 kilometres of groomed trails on the Island. 

Five separate clubs in the association take care of the grooming using five different grooming rigs.

The association took over the trails on Thursday but it’ll likely be a while before anyone is using them considering the bare ground.

“We are in one of the most fortunate places in North America because our rail bed is the big part of our trail. There’s no rocks, no trees, nothing on it so we can get away with eight inches of snow,’’ Hickox said. “Places away from here, they need a foot or two of snow.’’

MacKinley said the Island’s unique trail system is a hit with snowmobilers off-Island, too, making the sport worth $3.5 million to the economy every year.

“When you groom 1,100 kilometres of trails, it’s not cheap and our system is based on a user-pay system,’’ MacKinley said. 

“It’s a huge expense (for the membership). This (financial contribution) enables us to get rid of the old pieces of equipment that had people pretty discouraged.’’

There are between 1,500 and 1,700 members of the P.E.I. Snowmobilers Association and the money to groom the trails comes out of their pockets.

Hickox said the popularity of the sport has soared with improvements in snowmobile technology.

“When you were driving (years ago) you didn’t know if you could make it to the backfield or two miles down the road. It was that much of a challenge. Today, these machines have 10,000 to 15,000 miles on them, they have four-stroke technology (and) a lot of them have the same motor as small cars. Some of them are pushing 180 horsepower.’’

Just before MacKinley participated in a photo op at a snowmobile dealership Thursday, the minister said it’s not hard to figure out why snowmobiling is growing in popularity.

“It’s the best way to enjoy winter.’’


Organizations: P.E.I. Snowmobiling Association, Island Community Fund, The Guardian P.E.I. Snowmobilers Association

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, North America

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • dm
    December 04, 2011 - 06:45

    Snowmobiling creates lots of money for the economy, so they dont give money to brookvale? its provincially owned hello people it operates at a huge loss every year, and as for skiing and snow shoeing, the peisa who leases the trails in the winter lets them on for free in the day time, in fact if it weren't for the money the peisa raises each year the trail would be over grown and unusable in most areas, so before you guys go and bad mouth the peisa id get your facts straight, all the members pay at least 175.00 per year for each machine, alot of that money goes to trail maintenance.

  • iwonder
    December 02, 2011 - 16:06

    I wonder what kind of sled Ronny MacKinley has.....

  • yes but
    December 02, 2011 - 15:28

    That's all well and good, but what about finishing the rest of the trail system in the Lake Verde area? There is a rail line from Mt Stewart down to Lake Verde that's never been opened as a trail. There is a rail line from Iona to Lake Verde that's never been opened as a trail. There is another rail line from Vernon Bridge up to Lake Verde and also from Mount Herbert/Fullerton's Marsh to Lake Verde which have never been opened. These rail corridors are owned by the people of P.E.I. and we deserve to have them opened for active transportation use. And no redirects either - use the original corridors built for the railroad.

    December 02, 2011 - 14:59

    Rather then inflate the egos of the people with too much time and too much money, why not use $119.000 to sponsor 100 to 150 kids in hockey and figure skating who cannot afford it. I am sure it would be a more worthwhile project .

  • darrell
    December 02, 2011 - 14:44

    snowmobiling is not becoming more popular 4 wheelers are and i do not know why the gov does not look in to trails 4 4wheelers and lets put the dieing snowmobilers on the back burner for awhile they do not need them in the summer

  • Head Scratch
    December 02, 2011 - 14:36

    Sorry......would rather they smoothed out the Brackley Point Road ....from the Horn Cross Road intersection.... north to the Portage's a real mess ....when the road snow crews try and sort this dangerous stretch out! They can't clear the road properly as the road has a crown in the center on both sides each side of the road collects water, slush, and snow. They just throw clay on it. Robert Vessey...this is your district....sort it out pal!

  • says who
    December 02, 2011 - 14:30

    Snowmobiles are a very expensive luxury item and I would really like to see some factual data to prove they add anything to the economy. PEI is not getting it at all about the financial disasters hitting all over the world, still handing out money for any photo op. Really bad timing, if our Federal Minister of Finance sees this kind of sugar coated crappola, will he give PEI more money to hand out to Ronnie and his friends. It is such a lovely Island and the people are all so nice.

    • ski-doo'er
      December 02, 2011 - 20:05

      maybe try reading this article before you judge snowmobiling. it doesn't need to be a luxury sport at all. a used machine can run around 2500 and with maintenance, gas, registration and trail pass, may add another 1000 for the winter months. i know lots of people who spend 1000 to golf. they ride in power carts and drink beer til they fall on their ass. i can tell you i'm not rich and i own 2 machines. i do a lot of my own maintenance and take care of my machines and they pay me back with lots of fun all winter....LET IT SNOW!!!

  • rational islander
    December 02, 2011 - 14:28

    It would be nice if some of the trail could be groomed for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. More multi-use than closed to a single activity or user group.

    • ATV
      December 02, 2011 - 15:36

      You mean the way it is closed to ATV's??

    • atvs snowmobiles
      December 02, 2011 - 17:26

      Keep the gas guzzlers off the confed trail year round! No ATVS all year, and no snowmobiles in the winter!

  • Blank
    December 02, 2011 - 13:42

    LoL. Yea it's best way to enjoy winter if you have $5000 laying around. The Liberials are so out of touch with regular people. I Can't believe this guy got elected AGAIN!

  • gasguzzler
    December 02, 2011 - 13:39

    Canada's "green" province... As in investing greenbacks in noisy, polluting, stinky old sleds taking over the trails for the winter..

  • Are you kidding...
    December 02, 2011 - 13:36

    $119,000 to a special interest group comprised of people who each have enough money to spend $10,000+ on hobby machine. Are there not better uses for public dollars? If government wants to invest in a winter sport, why not try something that is more accessible to the average Islander and provides some actual exercise benefits? Disgusting.

  • Blast From the Past
    December 02, 2011 - 13:30

    Great news. Except for the fact that snowmobiling on PEI is terrible. Plus, it's an archaic sport, that only the rich can afford to do, reliant on fossil fuel, synonymous with drinking and fox decapitation. Now that I think about it, it's the perfect liberal past time! A wiser winter investment would have been to upgrade facilities that the average person can use, without thousands' of dollars of investment, and which is good for your health (how about Brookvale Ski Park (alpine & nordic)). A fruitless investment from a fruitless government.

  • skis
    December 02, 2011 - 13:21

    How about some investment in grooming facilities at brookvale nordic and develop some other areas (strathgartney?) for xc skiing.. Seems like a much healthier investment.. Just a thought.

  • Islander
    December 02, 2011 - 13:16

    Well hopefully they will stay off people's private property then. Too many of them don't respect people's property and think they can go wherever they want. I know it's not all of them but enough to give the rest a bad name. It's a problem on my property every single year and the trail is right beside it! Respect people's property and you'll get respect back.

  • Hey Ronnie
    December 02, 2011 - 12:49

    Ever driven across the 7 mile road? How about investing some coin in that to fix it!

  • Not surprised
    December 02, 2011 - 12:41

    Snowmobiling the 'best way to enjoy winter'? Really. While I concede it is fun - at times, it is not hard to figure out why Ronnie is in the physical shape he is in. There are so many other ways to enjoy winter, skiing, snowshoeing, skating to name a few. Its also, not hard to figure out why cycling lanes etc were such a low priority on his list. Thank god he can't rule against cyclists anymore.

  • Greeneyed Monster
    December 02, 2011 - 12:34

    WOW!!! This government is out to lunch !