Sharing the trail
The 275 kilometre Confederation Trail, which snakes its way from one tip of the Island to the other, is a marvelous resource for tourists and Islanders alike.
The only problem is that too many users who surround themselves with metal and chrome seem to believe it is there for their own personal use and to heck with everyone else.
Try to enjoy Mother Nature in all its splendour and more often than not you will get a whiff of gasoline fumes for your trouble.
Everyone who ventures onto the trail knows what it’s like during the spring and summer, and for that matter until the snow flies. A pastoral outing is often ruined when the air is filled with the roar of revved up dirt-bikes and ATVs.
A significant minority of operators demonstrate a sense of entitlement that is quite astonishing to behold. They are breaking the law, of course, but it’s almost as if they believe they own the trail and we, poor souls on sneakers and bikes, are the trespassers.
On more times than I would care to count, I would hear the roar of approaching ATVs and dirt bikes behind me, and then, to my amazement I would see a procession of vehicles travel by one after another. At those times I wonder if I am actually on the Confederation Trail, or Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway.
In the winter, of course, it’s a different story. Snowmobilers who are paid members of the PEI Snowmobile Association get to actually claim ownership from Dec 1 to March 31. They do, after all, lease the trail and pay to have it groomed just right and they even provide wardens who can issue tickets for various infractions.
I’ve never had a bad experience with snowmobile owners on the trail - who have been, for the most part, courteous to those of us who rely on skis or boots to get around.
Still it would be nice to have the trail to ourselves, for just a short period of time - with no gasoline fumes, no roar of revving engines, just the cool, crisp air surrounding us.
All we can hope for is a prolonged spate of mild weather that extends deep into the winter.
Unfortunately, illegal dirt bike operators and ATV owners are likely also hoping for the same thing.