Winter sport enthusiasts are leaving trails of damage in fields
By Diego Flammini
Farmers in Prince Edward Island are finding their crops are being damaged by local snowmobilers.
Some snowmobiles can weigh up to 600 pounds. And when the weight of the rider is added to the mix, that can lead to problems in row crops.
“Our plants are all in rows so we can see the tracks right down over the rows and damaged plants,” Greg MacKenzie, owner of MacKenzie Produce in Stratford, P.E.I., told CBC Monday.
MacKenzie grows about 120 acres of vegetables including cabbage, pumpkins, broccoli and cauliflower. But snowmobilers still have ample space to maneuver around the crops, he said.
“In the corner of the field (the riders are) kind of cutting tight and running over plants instead of going around. It’s a big field here, there’s about 60 acres so there’s a lot of space to go around them,” he told CBC.
MacKenzie isn’t the only farmer in P.E.I. finding snowmobile tracks in their field.
Matthew Compton, owner of Compton’s Vegetable Stand in Summerside, P.E.I., also discovered snowmobile-inflicted damage to some of his strawberry plants.
An avid snowmobiler himself, Compton understands the enjoyment of snowmobiling but would like to see riders take precaution to ensure they’re not doing damage.
“Stick to the fence line, stick to the heavily-snowed areas where you’re not going to create some damage,” he told CBC.
“You can put no-trespassing signs but it’s hardly a deterrent anymore.”
MacKenzie has put marking flags throughout his field but those have been knocked down. He’s going to put up more, he said, adding that he would like the riders to show his property some respect.
“It’s like me taking my tractor in a subdivision and driving on people’s front yards, it really wouldn’t be that appreciated it we didn’t ask for permission,” he told CBC.
Photo: Snowmobile tracks on Matthew Compton's farm.