The other afternoon I took Skye out to the community pasture for a walk. Where I parked is just across the road from where all of the “sledders” park when they are going up to the Renshaw alpine, to tear around on their loud machines. If you note some distaste in my mouth you are right. I am not a big fan of snowmobiling, but unfortunately the boys love their toys and McBride has become a destination for their activity.
Even though there isn’t much snow on the valley bottom, there is plenty up on the mountain tops. McBride was recently given some kind of “platinum” designation for snowmobiling, so I suspect there will be an increase in the number of sledders in the future. Already they come from as far away as Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Every weekend the motels and restaurants are full of snowmobilers.
You might wonder why I am not so keen. The main reason is that they have so little regard for the environment. They roar around in the alpine, so any animal that spends any time up there during the winter is displaced. When the snows melt, the place is littered with beer cans and other trash. A friend on a hike once found whole abandoned snowmobile.
Unfortunately our road is the route to the snowmobiling area and so every morning and evening we are confronted with speeding trucks hauling their trailers, hogging the road. Snowmobiling can be such a dangerous activity, a few years ago McBride made the international news when five sledders were killed by an avalanche. Years before my neighbor’s husband was killed by an avalanche , but just yesterday I heard the loud sound of a snowmobile coming from her yard.
When I worked for the BC Forest Service, we often had to use snowmobiles to get to some areas in the bush. I found the machines noisy, smelly, and they were always getting stuck in the loose snow so we were constantly digging them out so I never became a fan. I admit I never was a “motorhead” and I would rather exert some energy on snowshoes exploring the silent winter snow.
My paintings can be seen at: davidmarchant.ca
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