Geraldton and Longlac Snow Clubs Ready For A Great Season!
by Michel Lafrance
Living in Northern Ontario has always been a challenge for any organization and snow clubs are no exception! We live far away from any major center and our population just doesn’t justify spending money on us. Greenstone for example covers 2400 sq.km and we are the second largest municipality in Canada in regards to land, second only to the Great Toronto area. Obviously we don’t have millions of people living here. We only have about 4500 people in Greenstone down from 6500 back in 1995 when the forest industry was at it’s high point. The Geraldton and Longlac Snow clubs along with the Marathon Snow Kickers are the only remaining snow clubs in the former district 16 of the OFSC.
Due to poor local economy situation across the area, a few clubs have had to shut down due to lack of volunteers and lack of permit sales. Once we were was a thriving area with permits sales in access of 3000 for the district 16. At the end of 2011 permits had dropped to just over 300 in sales for the whole of district 16. Certainly not enough to keep many club’s in good standing with the OSFC. Our love for the sport and the commitment of a select few volunteers have made it possible for these 3 clubs to survive.
Last year was our first year operating as an independent clubs, meaning we don’t belong to any other district. We also operated without any financial support from the OFSC. Yes that’s right we have not received any funding like all other snow clubs in the Ontario. This make us very much unique and true to our nature we not only met our minimum 50 permits per club requirement, we exceeded it! This year with the prior to November 1.2013 online sale offered by the OFSC, it will have given us a much needed boost in permit sales. One of our marketing strategies this year, was and is to get permits sold to people who have once lived in the area to support our clubs. This also included Americans who often come up here to visit and also included other snowmobilers from other clubs in Ontario who want to support us!
Well some may say that we are taking permits from other clubs, yes I guess you are right- we are. But that’s ok because we need this support in order to make it through the tough economic time the area has been going through. We are confident that when forestry industry picks up again and with the hopes of major mining possibly on our door step things will get better. We will still be around to provide a trail system that is well maintained. We are clubs that are willing to go the extra mile to provide recreational opportunities to our communities.
Snowmobiling has been around for years, well since there been snowmobiling. We’ve been associated with the OFSC since the 1990’s, and much longer prior to that. We do are best to provide a great product on our trail system. Also living up here, well it’s a guarantee that there will be snow! Please check out our web site at www.snowclub.ca