What’s the most important issue to do with the winter trails in Gatineau Park?
Answer these 4 questions.
(survey on winter trails issues)
On January 12 the Gatineau Park Winter Trails Roundtable met. This group includes local ski and outdoor clubs, NCC officials, trail maintenance contractors, ski patrollers and representatives of the park-using public. One of the main tasks of the meeting was to explore which issues should be discussed and in what priority. The Roundtable came up with some priorities but would benefit from other park user’s input.
I’ll report on survey results as they accumulate and make sure the roundtable sees them too. I hope to get a French version of the survey in place as well (but don’t vote twice, okay!).
I have asked those who attended the roundtable not to complete the survey, since they’ve effectively voted already. Only later did I realize that means that these people can’t see (until I share the results) what questions I’m asking.
The answer is that I’m trying to replicate the choices that roundtable attendees had by first presenting the list of issues (as I understood the 12 we discussed), and then presenting the issues as grouped by our moderator into 5 more general discussion areas. In each case I give users a chance to indicate which they think most important, and which is next most important.
I’m not expecting this will re-prioritize the roundtable, but instead give food for thought.
To me, the most important issue is improved grooming on #1 and#3. For skate skiiers, these are the only “fun” trails; this year they have been woefully undermaintained; #1 is so bumpy it is impossible to maintain technique, even as late as yesterday, where it is shown as being “groomed”.
In addition, #1 should be groomed to the firetower. Many many many skiers like to do the trek out there but of late, it is rarely done.
The issue with #3 speaks for itself; this is the “most popular trail in the world” – you would think it would be groomed more often.
Repeatedly this year I went out looking forward to a nice ski on #1 or#3 only to find that conditions were so poor that I had to stick to the parkway and cut my ski short out of boredom.
My sources tell me that grooming Ridge Road from Champlain Lookout to McKinstry will be attempted this weekend.
As an avid skate-skier, I’m horrified by the deplorable grooming of trails and lack of grooming (#1 to the fire tower and #3 in particular). I’m concerned about the use of snowmobiles by Demsis. Operators drive them in the middle of the trails, which ruins the skiing surface, and leave deep ruts, which create dangerous conditions. They are out cruising all the time. It’s like a private snowmobile club with exclusive access to our park. I’ve also narrowly avoided being hit by a snowmobile that was going at least 60 km/hr. Demsis employees don’t care – they tell you to complain at the Visitor Centre. I’ve had NCC staff laugh at these issues, write patronizing replies to letters of complaint as well as promise to follow-up and then fail to do so. I used to be proud to invite my friends from outside the region to ski at Gatineau Park. I’m too embarassed to invite them now; I visit their ski venues instead. This is an incredible shame. We have a world-class facility that now resembles snowmobile trails through hydro rights-of-way. When the Demsis contract expires, we must ensure, for reasons of poor and indifferent performance, that it will not be allowed to submit another bid. Concerning NCC staff, as a federal government employee, I’ve never been so disappointed in my colleagues.