The snowfall has snowmobilers across our region eager to get back on the trails this winter.
The upcoming snowmobile season is expected to bring a major economic boost, according to a recent report from the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs.
The president of the Timmins Snowmobile Club said inquiries are already coming in from snowmobilers itching to rev up their sleds.
Patrick Dzijacky said last year’s snowmobile season was a significant tourism draw, bringing plenty of business to the area.
“You could tell that the hotels, the restaurants are definitely getting used and we do see a lot of traffic on our trails from southern Ontario, from the (United) States and our local riders,” Dzijacky said.
Numbers from the federation’s study show just more than $112 million was spent in its Timmins-area district last year.
The North Bay area saw the most snowmobile season dollars, with more than $151 million in economic impact.
Across all of northeastern Ontario, the study estimated that snowmobilers spent more than half a billion dollars in total.
The organization’s report shows a doubling of the industry’s provincial impact to about $3 billion. CEO Ryan Eickmeier said a large chunk of that directly supports smaller communities.
“It essentially provides, you know, winter business for many,” Eickmeier said.
“It provides jobs, provides opportunity and it works, really, hand-in-hand with many small towns in rural parts of this province.”
Dzijacky said having a snowmobile-accessible community can only boost the potential economic benefit, with sledders able to use approved streets to access both trails and businesses.
“If you can get riders to town, they’re going to support your local businesses, your hotels, your restaurants,” he said.
Dzijacky said his club is gearing up to take full advantage of the upcoming season, with discounted permits on sale.
The club is also looking to leverage local sponsors to distribute local trail maps throughout the region and encourage sledders to travel further north, once trails are ready.