Leading by example: the Calgary ATV Riders are ambassadors for OHV users and the land they traverse

“We’re doing what we enjoy without destroying sensitive habitats or the local residents’ piece of paradise.” — Kevin Dyck

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Four side-by-side ATVs are parked in a glade while a mountain juts out of the ground in the distance.

The Calgary ATV Riders Association spreads out their events across central and southern Alberta to allow their members to experience many different types of terrain and scenery. — Photo courtesy Kevin Dyck

The Calgary ATV Riders Association is the only registered non-profit ATV club in the Calgary region. Even though they’re the only ATV group in the area, the Calgary ATV Riders make every effort to reach out and make connections with other local clubs, such as snowmobile, single track, and Jeep clubs, as well as community organizations and other government and conservation groups.

“We have been working very hard to change the way most people view OHV users,” said Kevin Dyck, vice president of the Calgary ATV Riders Association. “If we can bridge the gap and find common ground, our sport can have a sustainable future for years to come by applying some of the things we’ve learned through working with these groups. We’re finding a way to coexist and do what we enjoy without destroying sensitive habitats or affecting the local residents’ piece of paradise.”

The Ghost

One of the Calgary ATV Riders’ duties entails keeping up with their agreement with Alberta Environment and Parks, which tasks the group with maintenance and upkeep on the south section of the Ghost PLUZ (Public Land Use Zone). Ghost is one of the primary riding areas for the Calgary ATV Riders and for good reason—it occupies 1,500 square kilometres. 

Several ATVs are parked on a muddy road in a wooded area.

Calgary ATVers can expect summer to be busy. The Calgary ATV Riders have a full schedule of both day rides and riding/camping weekends for 2021. — Photo courtesy Kevin Dyck

“The Ghost offers a little more in the way of variety as you have hills, mud, open meadows and tight bush trails,” Dyck said. “You can also do longer loop rides at Ghost due to the size of the PLUZ and trail network.

“In the Ghost, Margaret Lake and Cabin Creek loops are very popular. With the work our club has been doing on the Lesueur Creek Trail over the last few years and will continue to do into 2021, we are hoping that this will be a trail that users will enjoy.”

Stewardship Days

Every June, the Calgary ATV Riders hold their annual Stewardship Days. Last year, the club did maintenance on the Cow Lake Loop and Lost Knife Trail. There were also crews working with the Ghost Community Association doing their annual garbage cleanup along Transalta Road and Waiparous Creek Road.

Six men stand near a truck on a gravel road wearing reflective jackets.

Every June, the Calgary ATV Riders hold their annual Stewardship Days. Last year, the club did maintenance on the Cow Lake Loop and Lost Knife Trail. — Photo courtesy Kevin Dyck

Last September, the Calgary ATV Riders had a week of Socially Distanced Stewardship where they completed the re-route on a section of Lesueur Creek Trail. The group was able to achieve this goal thanks to a grant from the Alberta Conservation Association.

“We worked with Alberta Environment and Parks to relocate a trail to a more sustainable location,” said Dyck. “This trail will add a lot more of the fun factor as well as keep our riders out of an environmentally sensitive area. We also spent a day working with Trout Unlimited Canada, assisting in planting willows along with another small trail reroute.”

Trips aplenty

Calgary ATVers can expect summer to be busy. The Calgary ATV Riders have a full schedule of both day rides and riding/camping weekends for 2021. For the August long weekend, the club will be exploring the trails and camping near Valemount, B.C.

“We try to add a location every year that not very many of our members have had the opportunity to experience and don't know their way around,” Dyck said. “These types of areas are places that you would not normally venture out on your own and it adds variety instead of always going to the same places.”


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