Mother Nature co-operates, Snowmobile Ride for Literacy returns
Snowmobile enthusiasts get set to hit the trails of Simcoe County for the Snowmobile Ride for Literacy. The trip began at the Jarratt Community Hall in Oro-Medonte. MICHAEL MCCLYMONT - THE PACKET & TIMES
After an unexpected one-year hiatus, the Snowmobile Ride for Literacy made its long-anticipated return Saturday morning.
The fundraiser for the Orillia and District Literacy Council (ODLC) was canceled last year due to unseasonable conditions. So, snowmobile enthusiasts had to wait two years to join members of the Bass Lake Snowrunners and Orillia and District Snowmobile Association for a scenic tour of the local trails.
“Everyone’s very happy to be back here,” said Cathy Graham, program manager for the ODLC. “We’ve been doing the snow dance for the last month and checking the trail maps every day to make sure something’s open.”
The recent cold snap and subsequent snowfalls allowed for the snowmobile ride to return.
That was far from the case last year.
“We didn’t have any snow. There were no trails open,” Graham said. “Initially, we postponed it until the end of February and then there still weren’t any trails open, so, unfortunately we had to cancel.”
The ODLC lost out on roughly $1,200 last year.
“Considering probably 20% of our funding is from fundraising, it made a fairly significant impact,” Graham said. “There would have been some resources they wouldn’t have been able to buy or program they wouldn’t have been able to start because of the funds not being there.
The Ride for Literacy was also coming off a year in which they had one of their strongest turnouts, 38 riders participated in the 2011 event.
Many former participants returned for Saturday’s ride through parts of Simcoe County. A group of 19 snowmobilers covered more than 100 kilometres in a ride that took over three hours. They rode through Moonstone, into Coldwater and through Horseshoe Valley before congregating back at the Jarratt Community Hall in Oro-Medonte for chili, coffee and prizes.
Just under $1,000 was raised by Saturday’s run.
Among the riders was Louise McNeil, a tutor at ODLC and a member of the Bass Lake Snowrunners snowmobile club.
“It went extremely well,” McNeil said of Saturday’s ride. “We weren’t sure of the trails because of the weather (but) the trails were all in pretty good shape.
The 65-year-old has taken part in every Ride for Literacy. She and her husband rode on a Bombardier ski-doo and the duo was happy to experience a new section of trails that opened this year from Coldwater to Waubaushene.
“We were quite impressed,” said McNeil.
“We were optimistic that we could still pull it off this year, I would think it was a big success.”
One rider hit the trails with a helmet cam. The ODLC hopes to post the video to their website at odlc.ca.