Provincial Trails Act sparks concern in the countryside

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Trails are a great opportunity for farmers to build relationships. Let's hope cool heads prevail here.

I have read this story and reread it but I have to say I have no idea what all this means. I have always allowed people (who aren't hunters) to walk around my bush trails. I like the fact that so many people get pleasure from this. I don't want to compromise my rights or diminish the value of my farm so I want the right to do this voluntarily and the right to bar undesirable visitors or for that matter all visitors if it becomes necessary. How do I go about making this happen?

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I read this latest story and I am puzzled by the statements ,I owned over 300 acres that had the snowmobile and Atv trail running though most of the property! Not once did I ever think that this was a way for Government or Trail clubs could steal our land, how silly this sounds! I am and will always be a Snowmobiler & Off Road Rider, most riders follow the rules and some time riders see something off the trail and check it out. Their are times that riders go across private property to get some ware faster ,but it only happens once. I am shocked that this even got printed, likely Mr Black is trying to show his members he's doing something for his money! Sad, Most of us all respect each others rights when riding the marked trails on farm land! This Tourist industry relays on respect & Co operation from all parties and Farmers do Not have worry about someone making a land claim against Them! IT CAN NOT HAPPEN!" Bill Denby

I think the issue of trails is where progressive farmers really shine. If you look across the province many farmers with leadership skills have helped organize bike paths and snowmobile trails. This makes a certain amount of sense because successful people generally devote their energy to finding opportunities that aren't always obvious to others.

Our courts and laws are derived from past cases and the precedents those judgments have set.

When land owners give permission to members of the general public to enter
their land for defined recreational purposes, they are giving permission to
enter their property----period!

Everyone is saying the right things now to dispel fears of "loss of control"
of their properties, but in reality, that is exactly what is happening.

A yes answer is not the simple opposite of a no answer. No is simple, yes has many other considerations.

There are old laws that are still in effect and the granting of an easement
for more than 21 years is deemed the "Right of Perpetuity". That means after
21 years of granting permission, the general public will have the legal
right to enter the farmland at any time.

Effectively, the farmlands will become public properties by virtue of the
landowners' permission after 21 years. It is already being done in other
countries and with regard to snowmobile trails, they have been around here just about that long. Consider that public access to private land may have been a precedent set by nobility chasing foxes on private land.

Every farmer needs to consult a competent lawyer before they enter into any
"recreational easement" agreement no matter how noble and sharing the cause, as they may be giving up their right to their "private" property, if for nothing else to understand the associated liability risk.

How did the OLA land grant issue turn out? I recall that OLA was advising farmers to get the original documents for their farms. One advantage was supposed to be so that we could legally keep government officials including police off our property. Did this ever come to court or was it ever decided if this was legally valid?

For a moment lets consider the gap between urban nature lovers and rural culture lovers. As a rural person I want to enjoy the sights smells and sounds of city nightlife. I set off to the city to attend a summer night ball game. I feel maybe I should not drive home as I would like to enjoy some more of this city night culture. Under a big tree on a quite street with a big home in the background I pitch my tent and settle in for the night.

You finish the story. Will my tranquil adventure be peaceful rest until the sun appears in the eastern sky? Or will I be roughly escorted away fingerprinted breathalizered and arrested, possibly meeting new friends in a gated community with a secure hotel setting decorated in early prison grey (jail) for trespassing? Oh yes and as it is hot you don't mind me using your pool do you?

Its not all about farmers sharing. Much of it is respecting and distinguishing mine and yours, for my reasons and for yours.

On behalf of the Executive and Board of the Ontario Trails Council I would like to express our thanks to Better Farming for publishing our comments. Just a couple of things, the OTC President and Secretary are ranchers, and our VP is a farmer. And I'm from Deseronto (although Desboro is nice too) Regards, Patrick Connor

At Ontario Trails, we understand this. "Ontario’s farmers have a unique perspective on trails. Former railways crossed through farms, hiking trails run through or adjacent to farmland and many farmers voluntarily permit seasonal use of their land for snowmobile trails. There’s a lot to consider when farmers permit recreational trails on their property." Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
But what we need is for OFA to ask their members "please stop closing trails."
So OFA - we respectfully request you ask your members to stop closing trails.

I don't mind hikers because they leave no evidence that they were there.

At first I didn't mind snowmobiles either, but a walk through my bush about six years ago revealed that things had gotten completely out of control. Even though snowmobiles are relatively benign because they go over snow, the snowmobile trails are a magnet for ATV traffic that leaves ruts and and, all too-often, garbage.

As a case in point, when the ATV traffic made too big a mud-hole, they simply went around it and made a new mud-hole, thereby increasing their "foot-print" and my anger. The last straw was when, because no wrecker would do it, I pulled a full-size Chevy Caprice out of the bush after the driver attempted to follow the snowmobile trail through it

My answer was to close the trail to everyone and hope the bush re-grows to dissuade anyone from abusing it again.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Would have to agree. Pretty much sums up the problem when ATV and hikers get the use of trails.

I am going to guess you live "in town" and I can guess you want farmers to "give" you access to trails and their land? What do you have to trade? In this day and age what do urban people do for free whether for a farmer or another citiot? You citiots don't even use vacant urban parking lots on weekends for burnout derbies or skate board parks neighborhood camp fires but you want our land for free! Even OFA knows better than to through out the idea member farmers would be persuaded by a plea for "free" inviting all manner of risk and property damage by those just passing through.
Before you present a deal good for you, check and see if you would be persuaded it is a good deal, if you were in our shoes, for free

The O.F.A. has legislative authority to speak on behalf of farm businesses. They get that authority under the Farm Business Registtration Act. The key words are " farm businesses". The OFA does not represent or have authority to speak on behalf of anything but the business of farming. Recreation on farmland is outside OFA mandate.

Look up the Farm Business Organization Act and read the parameters of the OFA mandate.

If we put things into a "today's" perspective looking at what farmers get paid to host wind turbines , then $50,000.00 per farmer would not be out of the question for a snowmobile trail crossing their land . There are all kinds of people making money off of the trail users except for the land owners . Time the land owners get what they deserve . It is as you should know Private Property !

It is private property so for you to think that OFA can have any influence is likely to ask members not to close trails is a dream that would never happen if OFA wants to have any members left . They are skating on thin ice already with many members .

Nooooo... What YOU need is to put the work in to mending fences with farmers and giving them a reason to keep the trails open. You've been failing miserably for years

read the post above your comment titled 'double standard' and then maybe you can understand why farmers are closing their trails, these are the same people who are trying to tell us how to run our farms. the city country divide gets bigger each time. no trails on my property.

Duh think about it for a second?
Putting one trail littered beer bottle through a combine can essentially eliminate a whole silo full of food grade soys or white beans. I'll let you check the math. $100,000.00 minimum. Even a small amount of glass in feed grade soys or grains can kill an animal. I will never have a trail anywhere near my food grade fields. And yes, that is in OFA's mandate to protect but I suspect they will sit on the fence trying not to offend the majority government wanting more park space for recreation at farmers expense.

Some of these comments are bordering upon completely ridiculous.
I've never seen any snowmobiler carry "beer bottles". EVER. It just doesn't happen.
Furthermore, even if they did(which they don't), there are farm more thrown from vehicles windows. I assume this poster never plants food grade soys on a field that is beside a roadway.

Raube Beuerman

If you took the time to read the Act, you will find that the OFA has no say about recreation on farm land. The general farm organizations may only represent "farm businesses" as defined under the IncomeTax Act. Those words are stated in the Act.

Recreational use on farmland does not fall under "farm business". If farmland is used for recreational use and receives income for such, it is not taxed as farm income.

There is currently NO ONE that is legislative allowed to officially speak for issues other than farm businesses. Lots of land is rented to other farmers. The farmer growing on rented ground does not have the right to allow the general public on lands he does not actually own. There is a big gap in representation of farm businesses and land owners. They are not one and the same! Land owners have the final say about recreational use on their private property.

How much does one pay for a new all the bells and whistles machine these days ? I Would guess $20,000.00 would not be too far wrong . Then throw in the SUV and the trailer to get to the trails .
I don't see where free use of land with no regard to help farmers get the programs they need but while doing all you urban folk do good people can to bring forth new regs on the farm community .
Gee do you see any kind of connection yet !

While many urbanites increasingly see the rural routes as their playground, we live here and we work here.

Therefore, to an ever-increasing extent it doesn't matter whether it's:

(A) packs of snowmobiles or ATV's along trails
(B) hordes of bicyclists along rural roads
(C) posses of deer hunters

all are becoming as unwelcome and as much of a nuisance in the rural community as tractors on quiet residential city streets.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

As unwelcome as case of PED to a hog farmer or a case of mastitis to a dairy farmer would be a better comparison .

Look at it this way Mr. Thompson, if town and city folk are forced to put up with the extraction of their hard earned dollars through the legislated forms of robbery known as supply management, ethanol, greed energy and other various programs, then farmers should suck it up, and shut the h*ll up when it comes to Bill 100.

Raube Beuerman

Good point - as long as we are sucking money out of consumers through legislation mandating ethanol and 200% tariff barriers for dairy and poultry products, we couldn't possibly have too many trails going through supply managed farms and grains farms.

For that, I might even:

(A) go back into livestock
(B) get a snowmobile
(C) get an ATV

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Don't forget all of the livestock programs too ! Would hate to see those guys left out of the loop with all the big payouts that were given and coming .

(1) Big corporations, the entities the NFU loves to hate, pay oodles of money in corporate income tax, proceeds of which go, on a basis proportionate to the amount of income tax paid, to fund subsidies paid to hog and cattle farmers.
(2) Low-income consumers don't pay a lot in income tax and, therefore, very little of what they pay in income tax goes to fund subsidies to hog and livestock farmers.
(3) Big corporations, because they're not consumers, don't pay anything to support supply managed farmers.
(4) Big corporations don't ride snowmobiles and ATV's, consumers do
(5) Dairy and poultry farmers fleece consumers, they don't fleece big corporations.
(6) Subsidies for hog and cattle farmers financed by big corporations don't increase the price of food paid by consumers - supply management and ethanol both do.

Therefore, contrary to what the above poster claims, the above six points demonstrate exactly why it would be entirely-appropriate to restrict snowmobile and ATV trails to only those farms owned by grains farmers and supply managed farmers - if we want to use legislation to take advantage of consumers at the cash register, public access to our farms is the price we may be expected to pay.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Open up your closed trail then. Note your previous post stated : "As a case in point, when the ATV traffic made too big a mud-hole, they simply went around it and made a new mud-hole, thereby increasing their "foot-print" and my anger. The last straw was when, because no wrecker would do it, I pulled a full-size Chevy Caprice out of the bush after the driver attempted to follow the snowmobile trail through it

My answer was to close the trail to everyone and hope the bush re-grows to dissuade anyone from abusing it again."

The subject line says it all - instead of ever re-opening my trail, I'd sooner re-establish my father's purebred Hereford herd and use the farm to grow feed, rather than market my crops as grain.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Nothing and I mean nothing is stopping you . Just saying !

Mr. Beuerman must be a complete and total idiot if he thinks I will give up the rights to my land. We live in a capitalist society not a communist society. I bought and paid and are still paying in taxes for this land which includes his right to drive on the road in front of my house. Drive on the road you nimwit and the next mouthful of food you take think of me. Stan
Stan Thayer Dunvegan Ont.

Dairy and poultry farmers have effectively taken away the the rights of consumers to buy non-Canadian dairy and poultry products.

If we, in agriculture, are going to make anyone believe we have "rights", we're going to have to give back some of the "rights" we've forcibly taken away from others.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Thanks for given your two cents Stan!

Glad to see that a group like OLA took the time to read the bill and research the technical/lawful meaning of it's passing that other missed and chose to pass off as a trespass issue which it is not .

I see this Trails issue as with Wind Turbines,as ill-conceived,urban driven,fundamentally flawed as the Turbines are. It's not the Government we should blame,its the neighbor down the road or in next county that are signing these agreements and then 2 months later wish they hadn't.
Most of these trails are on old abandoned railway lines,so what is the big deal ?

In our area l notice some of the landowners most upset with the trails going through are the same people that allow groups of hunters on their land.I don't get it,we don't want hikers on our land but groups of men with guns are ok ??

Editor: A portion of this unsigned comment was deleted to comply with our guidelines.

Hunters do farmers a big service by culling the wild life that eat the farmers' profits. If I put up a sidn for deer to stay off my property, the deer have an excuse because they can't read English.

Hikers are a different kind of menace but they should be able to read "no trespassing" signs.

Private property is just that......private. The public has no claim to my private property.

I don't give permission for hunting on my property and yet l still fear going to the bush to cut wood anytime l know hunters are in the area.Your idea of a menace and mine are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Interesting read
Wonder what support they will give if the act pushes the price of hay to $100.00 per small square bale ?

Editor: This comment will be published if resubmitted and signed.

I think there are two ways this can eventually go.

1) Landowners set up a fee and lease a specific route through there property for some flat amount for one year or perhaps charge for each use, kind of like a toll road.

2) Government will simply expropriate a corridor the way things are done, for example when an airport or road, or road widening is needed for the greater good.

So you going to put a coffee can at the entrance to your bush or property ?
Accepting a donation or charging a fee might include a whole new set of rules and regulations pertaining to insurance , maintenance & liability to name a few .

I said "eventually" because there are many ways usage could be monitored in future. Think highway 407 where scanners and cameras are used. Cost prevents that today but future technology will monitor us all anyway.

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