The enormous increase in the sale and use of snowmobiles continues to create problems. Hudson Janisch, a law professor at the University of Western Ontario, now says there is a genuine danger that Canadian landowners whose complaints about snowmobile trespassing are not satisfied may take the law into their own hands. "If the police do not respond satisfactorily, if local politicians are too sensitive to organized pressure groups, if the courts are too lenient in their sentences," he argues, "we will witness a dangerous and totally undesirable resort to self-help, be it eye-level piano-wire traps, homemade land mines or the trusty shotgun."
Janisch says some farmers have been economically damaged by snowmobilers who, assuming farm land was fallow during the winter, ruined latent crops by compacting the snow over them, thus destroying the protection and warmth the snow provides. Snowmobile clubs are generally aware of such problems and try to educate their members to them, but the rate of club growth is well behind the growth in the number of snowmobiles being used. "The clubs admit they have lost the control they used to have," Janisch says.
One of the biggest problems is the simple matter of catching violators. Even if police happen to be on hand, they have difficulty catching up to the highly maneuverable machines, and since license plates are small and usually snow-covered they are almost impossible to read at any distance. Interlopers go free and farmers go berserk.