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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

No OFSC TOP trails West Of Dubreuilville for this season.

This winter there wont be  any OFSC TOP trails west of Dubreuilville, District 16 is now closed and now called district 0 or District OFSC,  District 16  joined the ofsc and was one of the districts that would sell the most trail permits, last year  the whole district sold about 200 permits in total.

I talked to my friends in D-16, they said one day they got the call that they where being shut down and that they would come get the groomers, it's quite the shock but they had a feeling this day would come.   This is sad news guys, If we don't work together this is going to happened even more, District 13 (my own District) Might be the next one.  I hope this is only temporary and we will find a solution for this.

OFSC is not to be blamed on this, they worked hard with the district to help them out, they tried to work things out, it's not the district 16 fault they like us have been affected really hard from the bad economy in the forest sector, many people lost good paying job that kept them employed in towns all across northern Ontario, many people moved away to find work, some stayed but have found jobs in mining or in the oil and gas fields out west, even tho they make a good living they don't have the time to ride snowmobiles,  when they are home they have to do things around the house fix things, the wife to do list.. spend time with the kids and be a daddy.  They work long runs so they only got less than  a month to snowmobile while home so they end up selling the sleds as they are not being used, so that means less permits being sold in the area and less people to volunteer in the clubs.

So with that being said....whats happening with D-16?   well some clubs I was told are going to still be there, One of them I heard would be the "Marathon Sno-Kickers Snowmobile Club " and I think Geralton and Nipigon might be also.   I sure hope this is true and there are clubs that will still be around.   The only problem is that there won't be connecting trails, that will leave a big gap in the trail system.

My friends from District 16 have told me that the OFSC are rounding up the groomers, picking them up, (as of now they must of all been picked up) and bringing them to a  location where they will be looked over, inspected and evaluated to see in what shape they are.  We need to work together and think Provincially, This year was a good example of it at the 2012 OFSC AGM (Annual General Meeting) In Colingwood,  The floor voted on some BIG Changes that will help our federation in the upcoming years for the good, some clubs voted in favour of the change even tho their own club would be affected in a negative way but they saw the big picture and voted to work as a team and voted for what would be good for the whole province.  I feel bad for my friends in D-16 that worked hard at trying to survive all those years, wish them the best and hope somebody comes up with a solution and D-16 is back in action grooming top trails for us to enjoy. 

If you would like to help and do your part you can purchase a trail permit from my Club, go to the OFSCwebsite and look for "Club Alouettes Dubreuilville Inc"   We need to sell 50 permits to stay in good standing with the OFSC to keep our club status. We need your help, if you plan to ride in my area this season  you can help by getting your permit here.

On Positive note,  the weather network are calling for snow for the Dubreuilville and wawa area for tomorrow.... Will I beat my November 9th first ride of the year?  I sure hope so.

Here are some pictures from D-16 trails.  I tried to find pictures but that's about it, not much pictures to be found online.


TOP D East Of Marathon,  The Pic River Bridge, One of the First Million Dollar Snowmobile bridge in Ontario.

 
Pic River Bridge East of town of Marathon.
 
 
 
Marathon snowmobile club Groomer 
 

TOP D trail
 
 
 
TOP D 


GreenStone Loop. (Geraldton, Nakina, Longlac.)

Nakina Club trail.

Nakina Sno Club Groomer.
 
D trail East of Marathon, This is the type of terrain they have to work with in this area. the trail runs at the base hill.

 

43 comments:

  1. That is absolutely a shame, an area that did a great job all of these years and I do understand the predicamnet that you are in. It's a shame that some clubs don't even come close to maintaining the trails and still are a club, they should shut dowm Cramadog as they are absolutely the worst in the province. - Bill

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  2. Yes it a shame, All the hard work they put in. I hope it's not for ever and it comes back.

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  3. That's really sad about District 16. The trails look awesome! Thank you for doing such an AMAZING job here! I look forward to your stories and videos every day! We bought our permits at the show and put your club's name on them, same as last year. Hope it helps! Keep up the great writing Luc! Hope to see you mid-February.

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    Replies
    1. thank you for the nice comments, I try to do my best in the free time I have. :) happy trails this winter.

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  4. that really stinks

    halfway haven is closed again this year as well correct?

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  5. Yup. No halfway unless you want to buy it, truck in the fuel and clean, cook, and maintain the generators for us sledders to enjoy.

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  6. So can u still ride thru them even if their not groomed

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  7. District 16 is dead and gone forever. Make no mistake. The OFSC has openly stated that it plans to remove the bridges and all trail signs in the closed area and when this happens,they will never come back. As for the OFSC trying to help, I followed this from my old district and the demands they placed on 16 were never achievable. When everyone has lost their job, there isn't any money for extras. Particularly very expensive extras like trail passes, insurance, fuel and the machines. Unless the parties involved start thinking ouside their narrow box, it is all over for connected provincial trails in the North.

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    1. Good Comment there, people don't realize how things are up north.... Last time I checked, I asked if there was plans to pull out bridges and I was told no..... but things could change.. I sure hope they (Bridges) won't be pulled out.

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    2. The people I have talked to subsequent to the announcement of district 16s closure tell me that it would cost as much or more to remove the bridges then they cost to build. Certainly much more than they would be worth to a scrap metal dealer or a second hand vendor. I suspect they will be locked and left in place for the immediate future as it would cost milliuons to safely remove them. Once the OFSC gets the annual validation fee it's after, all bets are off.

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  8. Perhaps one of the groomers from District 16 can help out the Cramadog Club. Somebody says they are the worst in the province. With an ancient groomer not suited to the terrain the Club has to go over (rocks and swamps)it can be a challenge. Who wants to spend 3 days getting a sunk groomer out of a swamp? Why 3 days because the groomer is way to heavy for the terrain! The winters the last few years have not helped. By the way where were you last year when the Cramadog trails were some of the best in District 10?

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  9. seems like the end is near,we should be closing trails in southern ontario,not in the north where they get snow,perhaps north of lake nipising should be seperate from the ofsc,any area in the far north closing is a shame,and to think we are going to spend money tearing out bridges,WTF

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  10. What offends me the most, is the fact that the OFSC has closed all the through trails in 16, intentionally signed the death warrants of the remaing 3 clubs by isolating them, refused permission of 2 of those clubs to keep a connected trail open through White Lake while at the same time lobying the provincial government to force every snow machine in the province to pay an annual registration fee to the OFSC to help pay for trails. While we are at it, how many threatening conversations have taken place between the OFSC and Dist 13? Who is next on the hit list? Particularly after last years lack of snow in the south west. Time for the north to go it on their own and dump the OFSC!

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    1. District 13 is my area, and sure feel like we are next.... I quit my club about 3 weeks ago, We where told that we had to stop grooming any Loop trails we have, we where told to cut down on grooming hours, told that D trail west was not to be groomed even if part of that trail goes to a reservoir to cotages that locals own and buy trail permits. After all that and more I felt that there was no fun anymore and why do all of this work..... as for a local snowmobiler, there is no incentive realy to buy a permit, you only ride oneway to nowhere or drive to long route to the next town or come back halfway and head home... not too interesting...

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    2. Yes, that is what will kill Marathon, Long Lac and Geraldton. The OFSC has made it plain that it only wants the provincial tourism and registration money for the Toronto tourists in Central Ontario. The rest of us can just do without while our registration fees goes to Toronto residents. This has been the focus of their PR and sales initiatives for the last 4 years. The time is rapidly coming whe3re the North will haqve to reinvent the trail system for our own use and run it the way it should have been all along. when I look at what the OFCD wasted on wages and useless programs, I get really upset.

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  11. There will soon be a story of a situation in the south that will show how a clubs success can be its downfall

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    1. Can you tell us which district without giving the club away?

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  12. my wife and I love to backpack in the far north,this is a sad day,I agree with you guys that maybe the north should get rid of the ofsc,one club we visited last year on our trip had sold 8 permits,we meet a group from southern ontario who said they had sold 1500 permits and they knew this was part of the problem,closing any area in the far north will be the end for us,this just seems so ontario,we do live in the anal province,anyway maybe we need to stir things up ?

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    1. It is obvious that the OFSC wants to starve the 3 remaining clubs to death. They have taken away 1 clubs fund raising event by forcing them to close the Greenstone loop, ordered another club not to groom to White Lake or lose their status and the other club is not allowed to buy trail passes and has to get them from the neighbouring club. The OFSC couldn't kill these 3 clubs without a law suit so they are doing it by starvation. Isolate them in the certain knowledge that they then can't make the minimum 50 passes sales and then they can legally ax them. They were warned about the economic problems as long as 7 years ago. They did nothing to plan for the continuance of a through trail, they just kept demanding a "business plan" and as always, ignored the impending problem.

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  13. The actions of the OFSC have alienated every town council from Wawa to Schrieber. The mayor of one of the towns, as of last week, was still refusing entry to the OFSC to the municipal garage where they had moved the groomer. The town has municipal money tied up in that machine and are refusing to hand it over. One of the other towns has even gone so far as to state publicly that there will be no work permits issued to anyone trying to remove any infrastructure and another has stated that its inspectors will oversee any work done and god help the people doing it if there is one infraction under any legislation. The OFSC is now so despised in the north that I seriously doubt they would ever get permission or support for anything from the local governments. I will predict that within 2 years, there will be a Northern Ontario trail alliance that just moves in and takes over. I also predict that it will include a 3 season ATV component. There are rumours flying that Dist 13 is now on the chopping block with club closures and transfers in the works for next year. And the OFSC is still pushing for that province wide registration fee from all of us. If permit holders knew the waste and incompetence that has hallmarked this organization over the last 10 years, they would all refuse to buy passes. Ever wonder why the OFSC is always raising pass fees? Ever wonder why they don't do organized fund raising like the OFAH does? Ever wonder why their office staff numbers were outrageous up until 2 years ago? Ever wonder why they never proactively anticipate problems like the clubs and districts have done? I came from one of the most successful districts and gromming associations in the province and after 12 years of involvement I could only shake my head and wonder. It was frustration after frustration with never anything but knee jerk reactions from them after they refused to deal with emerging problems. Yep, time the north moved on.

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    1. By "them" I mean the OFSC and not the district or Association. They were a model of efficiency and financial responsibility. The procrastination and inept governence of the OFSC was the frustrating part and after 12 years, I have so many examples that they are now confusing me. I wouldn't know where to start in relating them but I know where I would end, with them out of the North.

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    2. I'm into snowmobiling and had been in a club for 17 years, I'm on my 3rd term as councillor for my town that is in right next to that area. The OFSC did try and contact clubs, it's just that many towns taught that snowmobiling was here to stay I did not need to help and never taught one day it will be lost.... now the mayors groups it all mad and pissed but I have told many mayors and councilors about the strugles the clubs where facing and they needed help and support..... but was there a letter sent out to the Governement? I did not see anything.... We had the snowloop and the towns pulled the funding from it... i was a great trail loop. I told many town that we needed to have more enforcement by the OPP for trail, Permit, told them to talk to their local detachement but it seems like non ever did. The OFSC sent out STOP officers up north to help out with trail permits and give out fines..... the judge dismissed them all, all charges where droped....... so why locals would buy permits when the law is on their side...... Both sides are to blame the district could of done many things different, same as the OFSC, they need to seem realy how things are up north. we need to work as a team to find a solution.... or else the end is near for all of us.

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    3. The solution is for Northern Ontario to go it alone. I also was involved in organized snowmobiling for over 12 yeqars and was part of the best run district in the provionce. Even then, the lack of communication, forsight and support from the OFC was more then distrubing. Wasted money on failed iniatives, wasted money on programs that never worked, wasted money on employee travel, threats against districts and clubs who questioned rules and administration, questions never answered or just ignored and refusal of support for major threats to trails like the farm revolt and the rail line problems. The answer here is independence. We now have the opportunity to rebuild and do it right. We need to get both the volunteer and local government onside and pressure the provincial government to regulate the annual registration fee the OFSC is after and force that money to stay in the area where it comes from. If you want to see how an organization should be run, take a look at New Brunswick or Minnessota. With registration funding, we could design our own system for the North and operate it efficiently and economically. The3 T%ime has come!

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  14. I have been involved with a snowmobile club for 10 years on a limited basis,2 years ago I had heard of some possible WASTE of funds within the OFSC,so I decided to call and ask some questions,well to my surprise I was told bluntly that I was asking questios that I should not be asking ,well the OFSC should practice what they preach,yep time for the OFSC to go

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  15. How about starting with some permit sales numbers for D16, and the amount of riders that actually ride up there from the south. From riding up there personally and seeing the blatant disregard of buying permits from local people, and only seeing a handful or two of southern riders each week, I don't see how anyone could expect greater funding from the southern clubs, where people actually do buy permits to support their local clubs regardless of whether it snows 3 or 15 weeks. I could understand if 10's of 1000's of permit buyers from the south were riding up there .. fact is their not, and it shows with the drying up of local services. There is only one answer, and that is local people have to buy permits if they wish to have groomed, signed, maintained and insured trails.

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    1. You have a valid point..... easy to blame others, comes down to riders need to buy permits... wish I seen this before my the other post I just put up a minute ago... lol In my other post I talked about the OFSC sending a crew of STOP to patrol trails up north and after all was done all charges where trown out of court...

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    2. The problem is not just the purchase of the permit. If it was that simple then we wouldn't have an argument. The problem is the cost of the permit coupled with very short sighted and wastefull policies of the OFC and the provincial government particularly the exemption portion of the MSV act. The problem is the destruction of the Northern Ontario employment base by the failure of successive governments to address the real issues of mining and forestry and their failure to support the tourist development industry. The real problem is the OFSC's failure to recognize the impending economic changes in the province and proactively anticipate and plan for them. Regardless of how you slice it, the writing has been on the wall for at least 7 years and has been ignored by the intentionally blind. Given the declining snow fall and ageing volunteer base, most other districts will be facing this in less then 10 years.Don't believe me Take a look at comparative trail pass sales over the last 10, and in particular, the last 7 years.

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    3. If it was still only the issue of permit sales then your point would be valid but as we write, the OFSC is lobbying government to levy a $45 a year registration fee on every machine in Ont and give that money to the OFSC. That means that money taken from northern sledders will go to the south to support the Toronto tourist destinations and the north, who desperately need to rebuild the economic base, will get nothing. Not acceptable! That money stays here and supports our trail system, whoever runs it.

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  16. sure would be nice if the ofsc would let all of us members know what the hell is going on,some of what I have heard would seem to make sense,some not so much,maybe use that website they have to communicate with us,Mark

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    1. Im agree, I have been saying it for a long time, we need to pass the info on, in this day and age it's so much more easy to do it. I think Parts of the OFSC AGM (Annual General Meeting) Should be online for permits buyers to see how it's done.

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    2. My personal experience with the OFSC has led me to believe that they don't want us to know what is going on and just want to give us ultimatims and already made decisions. Then, when you question the decisions, you either get a wall of silence or you get a threat, usually a hefty fine, if you don't comply. Organized snowmobiling could be run so much better province wide if these people were no longer in charge. If the sport is going to survive on a provincial basis, the OFSC will have to be made to radically change both its format and its mandate. Provincial TOP trails should be just that, Provincial. That $45 they are after should get all sleds use of those trails and trail pass sales should be spent on the club and feeder trails. Go look at what Minnesota has done and ask our government how come they can do it for a season pass price of $16. Take a look at New Brunswick and their family pass and classic/antique system. There are better ways of doing this.

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  17. what is the 45 dollar charge you mentioned,Mark

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    1. The OFSC has come up with a radical plan to save snowmobiling in Ontario (read central Ont)called "A Framework for Change". It is a 4 part initiative that among other things would see a proposed $45 a year ( this is from sources within the OFSC and has not been publicly broadcast) province wide snowmobile registration fee levied on annual validations. Currently, annual validations are free in most of the north and $15 in the rest of the province. The OFSC gets none of the current levy. They want the MTO to levy this fee for annual registration and give all or the larger part to them for "programs". If the OFSC hadn't pulled out of the larger portion of the North and had they planned to use this money to keep the TOP trails open then it would be a good working basis. As it is now, it is just another plan to allow them to keep wasting your money and make the abandoned portions of the province help pay for it. As you can imagine, a lot of us in the North are just a little annoyed at this double whammy. Particularly as they are doing their best to kill off the 3 remaining clubs in the disbanded district 16 and are openly threatening portions of 13 with the same fate.

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    2. Given what is happening in organized snowmobiling, the failing economy and the radically changing weather patterns, all sledders should be going to their club's meetings or executives and obtaining information first hand. The OFSC is sending out periodic progress reports on this plan and they want it in place by Sept 2013 for the AGM. If you want a say, regardless of which side of the fence you are on, then get out to your club's meetings and get informed. The reason the OFSC gets away with the waste and incompetence is that the vast majority of sledders just buy a pass and then feel they have the right to complain and demand after the fact about things they have no clue about. They know nothing about the challenges and hurdles that are facing the clubs and as long as they can rip up the trails on the weekends, could care less until something is lost. Well kiddies, unless you start taking an active interest you are going to lose a lot more over the next 5 years and this money grab by the OFSC will not stop it.

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  18. I would first like to say that I appreciate all the work Groomer Guy and all the other volunteers do for the northern sledding community! The sad state of affairs for the Northern industries surely has a deadly hand in the fate of the Northern sledding :( I hope all those trying to keep the trails alive persevere with or without the OFSC! Good luck to all and see you on the trails!!!

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  19. Just learned last night that the Town of Terrace Bay is going to take over the Bridge that spans the Aguasabon River in the town. The bridge is part of the Casque Isles hiking trail system and the town apparently had a deal with the OFSC that the bridge was theirs if anything fell apart. At least that is one piece of infrastructure that has been preserved. Marathon Sno-kickers sold their required passes (65 so far) and remains in good standing. I am unsure about Greenstone as they had to sell a total 100 between Long Lac and Geraldton. The OFSC sent out a questionaire and it states that the validation fee is to be province wide so there is our confirmation that they plan to have the government tax us and then take the money for central Ontario tourism. Sucks to live in the North eh? Oh well, with climate change going as fast as it is there will be no OFSC in 10 years anyhow and the only snow in then province will belong to us.

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  20. At last count, 4 Dec, Greenstone had only sold 83 of the 100 passes needed to survive. Unless something of a miracle happens, they will be history after this season. That will leave only the 128 Km of the Marathon Sno-Kickers as OFSC sanctioned trails left in Central North West Ontario from Wawa to Kakabekka Falls. A toad diatance of almost 900 Km. Of course, the MTO will still collect their new $45 tax on all snowmobiles from that area in order to give it to the OFSC in Barrie to support snowmobiling in the Toronto tourist destinations. The OFSC must be some annoyed that Marathon not only made their fifty but at last count was reputed to be around 85 and had sold more than last year. Way to go Marathon!

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    1. Wow...someone sure has a hate on for the OFSC. lol.

      The way I see it the local, provincial and federal government representatives are the evil doers in this plot. Sure the OFSC may have been somewhat negligent in addressing what was going to happen to their clubs and trail network in the north but to be laying so much blame at their door is just passing on the buck from incompetent politicians.
      The OFSC is just an organization whose mandate is to lead a volunteer built organization to build, support and grow a system of snowmobile trails. That's it. Meanwhile your local councillor, MPP and MP are all responsible to ensure that you have a safe environment to live in, a competent education system to learn in and a competitive economy for you to earn a living in.
      In review of your posts it seems that the plight of the northern Ontario snowmobile system is a victim of circumstances far beyond the control of the OFSC and more directly affected by decisions and policies that have been supported by all 3 levels of government.
      In none of your posts do I see you referring to any attempt on your behalf to discuss with your local MPP just how the they could ensure that your region would get it's fair share of the proposed provincial registration fee.
      Or have you tried to contact your local MP to ask why the province of Quebec has received over 6 million dollars of Federal funding for it's snowmobile trail network why Ontario receives none? Afterall all of those Toronto snowmobilers whom you seem to have such a distaste for are the same people with the voting power in this country so should the government not being throwing money at them as it does to our fellow country men in Quebec when it comes to snowmobiling?
      And finally to your local councillors, the people with whom you likely enjoy the trails with. Should they not be held accountable? It's their lack of action that is now having a severe impact on the people and local businesses for whom they were elected to ensure that services and amenities are provided allowing an opportunity for you, your family and the community to grow and prosper.

      Blame the OFSC all you want. You're just picking at the lowest hanging fruit on a tree full of politicians and bureaucrats that have had a far greater impact on what's happened then the OFSC could ever hope to have.

      SP

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  23. Our group of six riders were visitors to the north loop for the first time this year. We are from Mid Michigan and ride actively at least 3,000 miles per year. This year we came to Wawa twice for a total of 10 days. Having ridden snowmachines for more than 30 years I can tell you your trails and riding offers some of the best in North America. We usually go west to Yellowstone and Wyoming for the same periods. We found our trip to Ontario to be the best people and trail questions without question, everyone greeted us and treated us like we were welcome, even though our French was poor. It would be a great oversight to have your Government allow this great tourism attraction to be diminished, a real shame. Our group spent more than $12,000 US during our stays and plan on doing it next year again, assuming the trails are there. We all see the budget Quebec has for marketing their trails, Ontario is certainly also due its share. I hope you succeed. Paul Gentilozzi

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