Approved by the CCSO Board of Directors June 9, 2007
THE BENEFITS OF ORGANIZED SNOWMOBILING
The Question: What is organized snowmobiling and how does it benefit society?
CCSO Position: The position of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations on the benefits of organized snowmobiling is that organized snowmobiling provides significant economic, social, health, charitable, recreational and tourism benefits nationally, provincially and locally, and is also the cornerstone of the snowmobile industry.
Backgrounder: The strength of organized snowmobiling is its unity of vision and purpose, plus the shared commitment, dedication and resources necessary to overcome many challenges and to ensure continued sustainability and growth. Over almost 40 years, no other power sports activity in Canada is as well organized, capable and effective as organized snowmobiling is in representing its user group and forging mutually beneficial alliances. At its inception, snowmobiling was unorganized. People bought their first sleds and rode them wherever they felt like. It was often unsafe, illegal and annoying to the public. There was no one to represent, lobby or speak for either snowmobiles or snowmobiling. Nor was there any snowmobiling group for anyone else to speak to.
Today, that’s changed because snowmobiling got organized. First, recreational snowmobilers volunteered to form clubs to share their family fun and provide safer and more legal places to ride. These local clubs soon assumed the responsibility for maintaining and sustaining local recreational snowmobile trails and riding areas. In so doing, they help to protect the inviolability of private land, environmentally sensitive zones, endangered species habitat, and other areas of potential environmental susceptibility.
Second, these clubs quickly realized that they shared many issues and concerns best handled regionally, provincially or nationally. So they banded together in larger associations, while retaining their local autonomy. Third, their provincial associations formed a coast-to-coast body called the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO) as their national representative. Today, organized snowmobiling at every level provides the leadership and support that enables volunteers, clubs and associations to continue their grassroots operations. By embracing the user pay system, organized snowmobiling contributes significantly to the costs involved in providing Canada’s best snowmobiling opportunities.
For recreational snowmobilers, the primary benefit of organized snowmobiling is safe, legal, accessible, permissible, integrated and maintained places to ride. These places provide many health benefits too, by getting tens of thousands of people outdoors and active each winter with their families and friends.
By providing and operating these places, where snowmobilers can and want to ride, organized snowmobiling has also created the opportunity to transform winter economies through snowmobiling tourism. The economic impact of organized snowmobiling that results is now well documented in most provinces, where many snowbelt communities, proprietors and jobs depend on snowmobiling for their prosperity during a winter season that is traditionally less active economically.
The majority of these snowmobiling-generated dollars are spent in rural Canada, where comparatively few other major winter economic activities exist. Thus, the impact of snowmobiling dollars is especially powerful, with some estimates indicating as much as an 18 to 1 multiplier effect, including trickle-down and spin-offs. Moreover, Federal and Provincial governments also benefit from substantial tax revenues derived from this snowmobiling-related spending. Organized snowmobiling also contributes to the betterment and well being of local communities by providing social, recreational and charitable opportunities, and by creating winter linkages that otherwise might not exist among communities. Organized snowmobiling is a willing and able partner, committed to working constructively and proactively with governments, agencies, stakeholders and many other groups on a broad range of issues and interests. It also plays a major role in educating snowmobilers about such important issues as safety, environment, landowner rights and volunteering.
Organized snowmobiling is all about snowmobilers helping snowmobilers. It is about snowmobilers keeping the rural tradition of neighbours helping neighbours alive by serving their home communities. And it is about encouraging all Canadians to embrace the enjoyment and benefits of winter in the Great White North.
Key Talking Points: Many people’s perception of snowmobiling is based on the early days, before snowmobiling became organized. All that changed long ago.
Snowmobiling is now organized locally (clubs), provincially (associations) and nationally (CCSO). Organized snowmobiling provides the unity of vision, voice, purpose and commitment to enable a strong club and volunteer network to create snowmobiling opportunities. These opportunities include:
- Economic: Enabling strong snowmobiling and winter tourism industries, winter prosperity for rural snowbelt communities, and tax revenues for both provincial and federal governments.
- Social: Providing many organized opportunities for family, friends and neighbours to get together to enjoy winter fun (poker runs, dances, dinners, etc.).
- Health: Creating the opportunity for Canadians to be more physically active and get outdoors during the winter.
- Charitable: Raising hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for local, provincial and national charities.
- Recreational: Offering Canadians established safe, legal, accessible, permissible, integrated and maintained places to ride and share winter experiences.
- Tourism: Delivering the opportunity for winter businesses and the hospitality industry to benefit from the snowmobiling-related spending of tens of thousands of riders.
Organized snowmobiling is a willing and able partner, committed to working constructively and proactively with governments, agencies, stakeholders and many other groups on a broad range of issues and interests. By embracing the user pay system, organized snowmobiling contributes significantly toward the costs involved in providing snowmobiling opportunities. Organized snowmobiling helps to protect the inviolability of private land, environmentally sensitive zones, endangered species habitat, and other areas of potential environmental susceptibility. Organized snowmobiling plays a major role in educating snowmobilers about such important issues as safety, environment, landowner rights and volunteering. Organized snowmobiling is all about snowmobilers keeping the rural tradition of neighbours helping neighbours alive by serving their home communities, while encouraging all Canadians to embrace the enjoyment and benefits of winter in the Great White North.