By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
TAMWORTH — The president of the Ossipee Valley Snowmobile Club is still hopeful that a landowner who is closing her property to snowmobiles at the end of the current season will reconsider her actions.
“The future of the snowmobile trail system is up in the air. We’d like to see an agreement reached which is agreeable to both parties,” said George Kaye.
He said that ever since the club was informed by letter in July of the pending trail closure, he has been hopeful that direct discussions could lead to a solution that would keep the trails open.
He also objected strongly to statements made by a spokesperson for the landowner regarding the conduct of snowmobilers on her property.
“At no time in the past has the OVSC received any complaints from landowners regarding off-trail riding, trespassing, or otherwise abusing the rights of landowners.
“We have certainly never been informed of anyone ‘peering into windows’ or intruding on anyone’s privacy. In fact, the vast majority of our trails wind through wooded areas and does not encroach on anyone’s residence. We have also not seen any trash of any kind being left on trails. We strive to maintain a good relationship with our landowners, and would expect to be informed by them directly if there were any incidents, and not by a third party. Yet, we have not received even one complaint,” Kaye said.
In an article published in the Feb. 16 Laconia Daily Sun, Alex Moot, president of the Chocorua Lake Conservancy, said one of the reasons for closing the trails was that “the property owners have been experiencing increasing problems with snowmobile users on their property straying off the trails, leaving trash behind, peering into the windows of their house, and intruding upon their family’s privacy in various ways.”
Moot made the comments in response to an earlier article in The Laconia Daily Sun on Feb. 7 that said that the closing of the trail could lead to the end of sled dog races starting on Lake Chocorua.
He said that the landowner, who wished to remain anonymous, is a strong supporter of sled dog races and is working on arrangements with the Tamworth Outing Club for sled dogs to be able to use the trails and local snowmobilers to be able to groom them in preparation for the race.
Kaye said that the 500-member snowmobile club is responsible for maintaining 60 miles of trails and that the closure of a section of the Corridor 19 trail has cut the trail in half, with the club’s grooming equipment at White Lake Park unable to directly access the rest of the trail.
He also said that removal of the trail from the New Hampshire Trails Bureau map has a consequence of removing the liability insurance coverage provided through the state, making it unlikely that local snowmobile club members would be working on or grooming the trail.
“Volunteers from the club work throughout the year to clear brush and otherwise maintain the trails, which are then available for year-round use. In the winter, the club grooms the trails for use not only by snowmobilers, but also by snow-shoers, hikers, cross-country skiers, and, of course, dog sleds,” Kaye said.
He said that the cub groomed the trail for the local sled dog race last weekend but he is not sure if trail conditions will hold up for this weekend’s New England Sled Dog Club race which will be held Saturday and Sunday, conditions permitting, starting each day on Lake Chocorua.
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