The Provincial Government has funded winter trail grooming along the coast of Labrador for a number of years. The Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs Office administers the Labrador Transportation Grooming Subsidy (LTGS) which provides funding to local community groups to maintain a winter trail system between isolated coastal communities and the nearest service center. The purpose of the LTGS is to provide a transportation link from isolated Labrador communities that do not have year round road access to the nearest service centre.
Winter trails are used by residents of isolated communities including those on Labrador’s north coast and the communities on Labrador’s south coast of Black Tickle, William’s Harbour and Norman Bay. Community groups include: Inuit Community Governments of Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet; the Eagle River Development Association, and the Labrador White Bear Development Association on the south coast; the Town of North West River; the Grand River Snowmobile Club; the local service district of Black Tickle; and the Mud Lake Aids to Navigation Committee.
The operational budget of the LTGS to maintain the trail system has been approximately $350,000 over the past few years. Funding levels provided to each community group is calculated according to trail length. In addition, special project funding has been provided for trail upgrades, equipment repair and purchase, and groomer shed construction.
Trail marking and grooming activity occurs when ice thickness and snow conditions permit; usually from mid-January to the third week of April. The trail route, in some areas, is on ice over large bodies of fresh or salt water. LAAO employs a Trail Inspector, on a seasonal basis, to ensure that grooming activity is carried out in a safe manner. Each community group is responsible for marking, grooming and monitoring trails in its own area.
Groomer machines and snowmobiles used during trail maintenance activity are equipped with Global Positioning System units which indicate trail equipment location on a continual basis. Anyone with internet access can view equipment location by clicking the following link: www.grandriversnowclub.ca/trails.html.