It is important for ATVers in the Belair Provincial Forest (or any place, for that matter) to have a unified voice that they can use to promote responsible trail riding and to help resolve conflicts that may arise between user groups. Enter the Belair ATV Club of southeastern Manitoba.
The club, which was formed in February 2016, has been working with snowmobile clubs, municipalities and a local group known as the Red River North Trail Association to make sure everyone understands and respects each other.
“It’s a significant ATV area and we are all about promoting the sustainable and responsible use of ATVs,” said Hartley Pokrant, president of the Belair ATV Club.
The Belair Provincial Forest, which is located on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, is home to several hundred kilometres of sand-based trails and old logging roads. In other words, it’s quad country. Dirt bikers and Jeep enthusiasts also enjoy it and for the most part, they all get along.
The club is affiliated with the ATV Association of Manitoba. — photo courtesy Hartley Pokrant
One challenge Pokrant hopes the club can address, however, is off-road users who ride disrespectfully through residential areas. Belair is cottage country and there are several major beachside villages in the area that provide access to the trails.
Another challenge facing the club is communication. Pokrant said that with so many user groups in the Belair Provincial Forest, it can be difficult for the province to get information about travel restrictions due to things like wildfire danger passed on to all those involved. A good point, considering at the time of writing, there was a backcountry travel restriction in effect for southeastern Manitoba.
“When you are organized, you create a responsible voice,” he said.
Pokrant also spoke about restoring a decommissioned rail line. If approved, this would create a multi-use trail, connecting Selkirk with the community of Pine Falls.
Sandy trails in the Belair Provincial Forest are well suited for ATVing. — photo courtesy Hartley Pokrant
It’s not all work and no play, however. Pokrant said the club plans to host rides throughout the summer. These events will provide great opportunity for ATVers to get to know each other while they enjoy the area.
“There’s such an abundance of trails and there are lots of interpretive trails in there that are just beautiful for sightseeing,” said Pokrant.
Information about upcoming events, as well as news, pictures and videos, are posted on the club’s website. Those who are interested in joining the club can also use the website to purchase a membership.
“The beauty of it is I have set it up with total online registration with PayPal,” said Pokrant.
If the last few months are indicative of the future, it looks as though the Belair ATV Club has success in store.