Group working to open town to passing snowmobilers

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - The Cumberland Snowmobile Club is looking for ways to make Amherst a destination for snowmobilers.
Partway through a three-phase plan to enhance snowmobile trails around Amherst and Cumberland County, the club and its partners are about to begin negotiations with the town to see if there is a way snowmobiles can legally access town services such as the downtown core and South Albion business district.
"The town has been very supportive of our activities to date through its community and economic development department. We plan to meet with the town planner and its police department to come up with a plan for snowmobilers to access the town in a legal manner," project co-ordinator Andrew Wallis said.
The snowmobile club, with the assistance of Cumberland Trails and off-highway vehicle users, have been working outside the town to spruce up trails and restore connections with trails that run through Cumberland County from New Brunswick and other parts of Nova Scotia.
This summer, the group fixed Trail 366 to Long Lake, replacing a pair of bridges and culvert. The second phase of the project includes fixing up Trail 104 that connects Amherst to Springhill. That work is expected to include signage and brushclearing operations.
Wallis feels this work will make Amherst more attractive to snowmobilers and other off-highway vehicle users. The only missing piece will be getting access to the town.
"There's access in Springhill," he said. "Snowmobilers can come off the trail system right into the town by the Lamp Cabin and Needs Convenience on the Junction Road."
The first phase of the project connected the town to the trail system via Steamboats on East Victoria. Now, Wallis said the focus will be to connect the downtown core and South Albion to the trailhead. Right now, there's no legal way of doing that.
Up until several years ago, snowmobilers were able to access South Albion Street by skirting the town through an agreement with a property owner. That permission is not in place any longer and there's no access.
Wallis said there are thousands of snowmobilers passing by the community during the winter and he believes connecting to the trails would provide an economic benefit to the community.
"They have money to spend, but they have to get here first," he said.
"They have to be able to access places where they can get food and gas. What we want to do is find a way they can access those services with the snowmobiles and ATVs legally."
Wallis also wants to be able to market Amherst as a place to come for snowmobilers as the gateway to Nova Scotia.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Cumberland Snowmobile Club

Geographic location: AMHERST, South Albion Street, Cumberland County Nova Scotia Springhill New Brunswick Long Lake Junction Road East Victoria

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  • advid sno
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Is this JR guy for real, sounds like the town grinch, snowmobilers would bring in alot of support for our hotels, food, gas, etc............I bet this JR is one of those guys who sponges off snowmobilers and bikers for nothing if he can get away with it.
    I think its a great idea also.

  • JR
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    What about the laws dealing with driving such vehicles on town streets? If that is what is meant to happen. Also, if they are unable to get on to the streets due to lack of snow, then will they have to drive on the sidewalk? Then is becomes a question of where the pedestrians will have to walk. How will we be able to keep enough snow down so they do not damage the skis and still keep things clear and safe enough for cars and people to travel? Just some curious questions as this is the forst I have ever heard of this?

  • Dirk
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Read the article. Springhill had this for years. It works well. As for enough snow, snowmobilers will only go where there is snow. I think it is a great idea and I dont snowmobile (can't afford it right now while raising a family).