Snowmobile: the closure of the TQ3 trail in Pessamit will still hurt this winter
By Charlotte Paquet 6:00 AM - December 02, 2021
Reading time: 4 minutes
Manicouagan snowmobilers hope that there will be plenty of snow this winter, just as they can't wait for the TQ3 trail near Pessamit to be accessible again, which could be the case in 2022-2023. IStock Photo
The Manicouagan Snowmobile Association inc. (AMMI) remains hopeful of a snowier winter in 2021-2022, after a little snowy season last year. On the other hand, it shows less optimism to see snowmobile tourists flocking to us because of the closure of the TQ3 federated trail near Pessamit for a second year.
It will be remembered that winter sports enthusiasts suffered from the lack of snow during the winter of 2020-2021. The rain on December 24 and 25 and the little precipitation in January and February hurt. In March, many lawns had become uncovered before a good storm covered them with their white mantle.
“We didn't have a lot of snow. We did less snowmobiling. The conditions were not optimal. This year, of course, we hope for more snow ”, underlines AMMI President Romain Tremblay.
However, he is sorry to see snowmobilers deprived of a fluid link further west since the decision of the Innu Council of Pessamit to prohibit the passage of snowmobilers on its territory due to complaints from its members.
Mr. Tremblay is saddened as much for snowmobilers from the North Shore who wish to travel west without having to embark their machine on a trailer as for those from outside who would like to visit the region on their racing car.
"It's a bad… problem in Pessamit." It is very disastrous for snowmobile enthusiasts and also for tourists. We are stranded on that side and we are stranded for the ferry, ”underlines Mr. Tremblay, referring to the lack of reliability of the maritime link.
The president of AMMI says the situation will continue to greatly affect restaurants and accommodation. “He's going to lose millions (of dollars). The expense of snowmobilers for the Côte-Nord region is enormous. It's not the same as with camping and caravanning, ”he says.
Anyone who claims to have seen 25 to 30 snowmobiles parked in the backyard of a hotel recalls that snowmobile tourists do not have the choice of breakfast, lunch and dinner in restaurants. In addition to the gasoline to buy, they also often have to call taxis when it comes time to get food. “Last year it was the same. The shops have tasted it. "
A project to bypass the territory of Pessamit is on the table and the work should be completed in time for the 2022-2023 season.
Some good news
On the other hand, the Association des motoneigistes Manicouagan is delighted for its 1,000 members of the opening of the Auberge Franquelin during the coming winter. The same goes for the Captain's Market restaurant in Godbout, formerly the Passant restaurant, whose opening hours will be extended.
According to Mr. Tremblay, this is good news for snowmobilers who will be able to make stops to eat a little something and warm up during their hikes in the Manicouagan.
The Federation of Snowmobile Clubs wants to reestablish the link
The Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec (FCMQ) believes it can reestablish a passage north of the Pessamit territory for the 2022-2023 season, but for this year, it must be forgotten.
“It's not funny, but we don't have much choice. They (the Innu Council) do not want to go all out, ”underlines Yanick Claveau, federation liaison officer for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean-Côte-Nord region. Since the last season, Pessamit has put an end to the right of way for snowmobilers following complaints from members of the community.
A project to relocate a 20 km portion of the TQ3 federated trail is on the table. "There is a four kilometer road that we will have to build to connect two other already existing paths", explains Mr. Claveau, who adds that he is in discussion with the people of Pessamit on this subject.
The FCMQ is also in talks with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources with a view to obtaining its approval for the new route chosen. “Normally, if all goes well, the project should be done next summer,” said the president.
According to him, the future link will not force snowmobilers to cover a greater distance, which will be similar to that which existed until winter 2019-2020. Snowmobilers will not see the difference, assures Mr. Claveau.
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