Some things can’t be shared. For example, Nordic ski courses. If even one snowshoer or walker passes by, the path can be not only unpleasant, but also downright dangerous.

The volunteer organizations that maintain Nordic ski trails (or off-piste cross-country skiing) are committed to preserving the practice of the sport that gave Laurentians legends like Herman Smith-Johansen, known as Jackrabbit. Needs to be strengthened.

“On Nordic ski trails, snowshoes create narrow, deep grooves,” explains Daniel Bergeron, president of Plein Ale Santadel. It becomes almost impossible to change direction. Going downhill can be very dangerous. »

The snow around this ridge will harden quickly. This will make it very difficult to apply the brakes.

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“It’s like bobsledding. There’s really nothing to do and it’s really dangerous,” added Dominique Hamel, communications manager for the Plein Ale Santander board. Nordic When he talks about skiing, we’re talking about tree-covered, winding, very steep trails. »

Snowshoers and walkers are not aware of this problem. Many people want to continue walking the same trails they’ve been walking all summer and fall, even in the winter, even if they’re only for Nordic skiing.

But volunteer organizations go out of their way to let people know that this or that trail is for skiers only.

“People will say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about that,'” laments Andre Marcoux, president of the Laurentian-Lanaudière Intercenter Trail. But in Montagne he put up a large yellow banner, 16 feet long and 2 feet high, in Noir. It says, “Nordic. His skis are on the right side only, and his snowshoes are on the left side.” »

Adventure guide René-Claude Bastien recalls that many people have awakened to the outdoors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I think there is a bit of a perception that the environment in which outdoor activities take place is one without regulations or instructions.

Rene Claude Bastien, Adventure Guide

“Many people have the impression that work and social environments are restrictive and that nature offers the possibility of a little escape,” she continues. However, if you decide to go outdoors on a network shared by other types of users, there are regulations associated with that behavior, and there are also ethics around not harming the environment in the activities of other users. »

The volunteers who have maintained the trail for years don’t want to be like trail police, but will notify hikers if they’re not in the right place.

“People can become aggressive because they feel cornered,” points out Dominic Hamel. Our goal is not to antagonize people, but to raise awareness. »

Courtesy is always necessary. “You can meet the landowner,” explains Mr. M.myself Hamel. We know what happens when you meet the owner and argue. The section will be closed. »

Plein Air Sainte-Adèle provided volunteers with an official toque or small laminated card for a little more authenticity.

In the past, Intercenter has created snowshoe trails to help reorient snowshoeers. But this isn’t a miracle solution, especially for smaller organizations.

As snowshoeing became more popular, Plein Air San Donat abandoned the idea of ​​a trail exclusively for Nordic skiing.

“I don’t do a lot of Nordic skiing, but my friends who do say that ideally there should be reserved trails,” says France Chagnon, president of Plein Air Saint-Donat. . But that means doubling the trail. It’s 70 kilograms, but that’s impossible. »

In recent years, SEPAQ has added Nordic skiing trails to its range of activities, but these are often shared with snowshoeing.

“That doesn’t work,” says Andre Marcoux.

SEPAQ spokesperson Simon Boivin explains that it is not possible to reserve trails for each type of activity.

To create new roads, you will need to cut down trees and divide the territory. This is inconsistent with the mission of national parks.

Simon Boivin, SEPAQ spokesperson

René-Claude Bastien believes that this communal living should be reconsidered. “We talk a lot about the outdoor customer experience. But for Nordic cross-country skiers, the customer experience is having a trail (reserved) for Nordic cross-country skiing.»


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A collection of beautiful photographs of animals captured by automated cameras in the Yukon Territory.

This is the coldest temperature recorded on January 17, 1982 at Belle Terre, Témiscamingue, Quebec, and on January 30, 2002 at Post-Montanay on the North Shore.

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