Due to COVID-19, the summer riding season in 2020 is going to be a bit different than what we’re used to. But just because some things have changed doesn’t mean everything has changed. ATVers can continue to ride, trails can be maintained and good times can be had.
RidersWest caught up with Kim Wozniak, executive director for All Terrain Vehicle Association of Manitoba (ATVMB), to learn how plans have changed and what remains the same for ATVers in Manitoba.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted ATVMB?
We had to suspend all activities requiring in-person contact. Our AGM was scheduled to take place in April and we had plans to host it in Western Manitoba (near Brandon), where we are in the process of developing a new designated trail system. The plan was to host a lunch and group ride following the business meeting, which is always a great opportunity for folks to socialize and network. Manitoba has managed the pandemic very well with low virus numbers. If this continues, we hope to host our AGM in person in September. If that is not possible due to an increase in Covid cases resulting in reinstatement of restrictions, we will host our AGM using Zoom web conferencing.
In addition to the postponement of the AGM and group ride, we put our safety training/education initiatives on hold, as well as a scheduled GPS workshop and participation in Ag Safety Days in Boissevain, Manitoba.
The pandemic also resulted in a decrease in funding and unfortunately ATVMB did not qualify for any of the relief funding that was offered. However, with frugal financial management, we will weather the storm and come out of it okay.
How is your organization adjusting to social distancing?
The Federation Board itself didn’t have a huge problem adjusting to social distancing due to the fact that the majority of our meetings are held electronically as board members are spread out across the province.
Social distancing for trail activities is relatively easy to manage due to the nature of the sport. We have encouraged all members—and the general ATV population in Manitoba—to adhere to the guidelines published by our government and health professionals. We got the message out through social media and encouraged everyone to ride responsibly and within their means in order to prevent potential for any trail mishaps.
Trail maintenance is a little bit tricky, but clubs have managed to maintain the trails while ensuring that they are following social distancing and good hygiene practices.
Can people get out and ride?
Our government has encouraged people to take part in outdoor activities while following the guidelines of social distancing and hygiene practices. ATVMB clubs suspended larger group rides for the first part of the season but are once again planning those activities as restrictions have been eased allowing for groups of 50 to gather outdoors.
The Eastman ATV Club had to cancel their annual fundraising event, Ride for Mom, which was scheduled to take place in early June. The ride attracts close to 500 people and it was clear that it could not take place this year. This event is near and dear to the Eastman Club and they are looking forward to hosting it again in 2021.
How has membership been affected?
We have definitely noticed a decrease in member renewals this year, but our clubs are confident that the numbers will increase as people start to participate in rides once again.
Are you still having meetings? How are they being conducted?
We continue to meet using Zoom, which has proven to be invaluable to keep us connected.
Are you able to work on trails?
Yes, trail work continues.
What plans do you have for the summer?
The summer months are always busy for ATV clubs and although this year may look a little different, the trail work and group rides will continue. We have fantastic and enthusiastic volunteers who always find a way to get the work done.
What advice do you have for avid ATVers who are anxious to get out on the trails and go for a ride?
Enjoy the summer and get out on the trails! Ride responsibly, follow ATV safety guidelines, adhere to all pandemic guidelines set out by the government and health officials, and have a plan in the event of a breakdown or injury.