This is a sign found at the entrance to a trail in the Gatineau Park. The entrance to the trail is an hour’s drive away from Ottawa. Few use it, maybe several dozen a weekend. The trail leads into a ski trail and a set of snow shoe trails. They are called “ski” trails because the National Capital Commission occasionally maintains them from falling trees, and repairs bridges across streams. They are called “snowshoe trails” because they scarcely exist except in the minds of dedicated snow-shoers who maintain them by hand. These trails take one into the deep woods and places unseen by the skiers, whose trails more closely approximate narrow highways.
What does this sign mean?
- You cannot reach the snow shoe trails by means of the common access trail? or
- You can reach the snow shoe trails but as a snow-shoer you have to create your own path beside the ski trails?
Supposing it means the latter, why create two classes of user of the Park? One class, the skier, has superior rights. Why?
- Most of the time the snow showers create the path for the skiers by being the first out on the trail after the snow has fallen.
- Does a skier have the right to push off a snowshoer, or claim priority, for using his ski-trail?
- Does the skier have the right to claim a trail as a “ski” trail by going over a previously-made snow shoe trail and thus forcing the snowshoer to make a new trail – at great effort I assure you – so that the higher class Brahmin skier can ski without his shadow falling on the unclean Dalit snowshoer?
I can see the logic of keeping the two classes of trail user apart where the NCC grooms the trails mechanically, but where all the effort to make trail is human, and the labour is shared, then I am ready to tell the skiers to go around me if they get stroppy.
95% of those who get rude or aggressive are French Canadian, in case you wonder.
We snow-shoers get to places seen maybe by a score of people a year, we happy few.