In the early 1970’s John Bradley and Charlie Parkin purchased the Big Chute Marina. As only a foot path existed to the Pretty Channel Dam,snowmobiles weren’t able to travel through the area.
John and Charlie took it upon themselves to improve the footpath to accommodate snowmobiles. Once this was done, some cottagers in Coulters Bay decided that they would also like a trail.
The Ministry of Natural Resources was approached, and with assistance from Robbie Robertson, Bill Brown, and John Winters, approval for the trail, and permission to cross the dam was granted.
John, Charlie and the Coulters Bay cottagers constructed the trail which included on and off ramps to cross the dam. In 1974 John and his son extended the trail to the Lost Channel. The MNR extended the trail to Six Mile Lake and further to where it is today. The MNR were a major player in the development of the Big Chute Trail. Eventually, they experienced some cutbacks and could no longer afford to keep up with the maintenance and grooming of the trails. This was when the HART Snowmobile Club was developed. They continued the upkeep of the trails (with Alpines) and membership to the club reached 235 members. Eventually, the traffic on the trails became too heavy – and the grooming became a challenge as the equipment was too small to accommodate the maintenance required.
Smart Club at work
In 1996 the Hart Club joined the Muskoka Snowmobile Region (now known as District 7 of the OFSC). It changed its name to SMART, and appointed a new Executive and Board of Directors. Improvements were made and today there are over 400 members. The larger equipment required to maintain and groom the trails has been purchased. The steady stream of traffic associated with the increased club membership is no longer a major challenge on the trail!