Manitoba ATV clubs gained ground this past summer on issues of participation, public image, awareness and infrastructure.
According to Dave Lee, president of the Eastman ATV Association, “reaching a milestone of 100 members and participating in the Ride for Dad,” were the highlights of the high season.
The first ever ATV Ride for Dad in the province took place on September 28, 2013, in Stonewall. Spearheaded by Lee after the ATV Association of Manitoba brought the idea for the event back from an All Terrain Quad Council of Canada conference, the ATV Ride for Dad was a great success despite taking place on a rainy day.
“We had a little over 100 people, we raised $9,000 for the (Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation) charity, and we established a good visual presentation of the ATV community within the public,” said Lee.
He said about 60 quads paraded down the main street of Stonewall to register at Quarry Park and enter onto the railbed-based Interlake Pioneer Trail System—currently the only government-recognized, ATV-friendly trail in Manitoba—for a full 80-kilometre day of riding and a hot meal along the way.
“(The event) crosses a lot of platforms. It encompasses a whole community,” said Lee. “We got people that would normally not associate with the ATV community or have any clue what an ATV is used for in a recreational application.”
South Interlake action
Andrew Hardie, chairman of the South Interlake ATV Club, said that in preparation for hosting the event the club spent some time cutting some fresh trail.
“It allowed us to not have two-way traffic on the section that we were using (for the event),” said Hardie. “We cut probably three miles through bush and through some ditches that were well overgrown that the municipality would want to cut anyways, so we did a bit of work for them.
“It adds a fresh loop into our main rest area and staging area.”
Hardie added that his club also enjoyed an upswing in member numbers this past season, put in a loading and unloading ramp at their staging area and began installing mile marker signs along the length of their trail.
Riding high on the success of the Ride for Dad and a recent positive resolution concerning the Mars Hills area—where a management agreement has been reached with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship to roll out a designated trail—Lee said he is hoping to push harder for the establishment of more designated ATV trails for responsible, sustainable riding in Manitoba next season.
“We do now technically have structure within the Mars Hills area to have a designated trail system rolled out under (Manitoba) Conservation, so that was a milestone reached this year,” said Lee, adding that he expects signage to be posted by the province next season. “We’ve actually also approached the Rural Municipality of Cache about establishing a designated trail from the town of Lorette to the town of Ross on Crown land, and that’s a little pilot project that Eastman is taking upon ourselves.”
Lee said the club made a presentation on the benefits of a designated multi-user trail system to the town council of Lorette on November 5, 2013, and will be moving forward with a feasibility study.
“If this is something we could do with the local community, I think it would be a great success,” he said. “It gives an element of control to the community along the trail system and an opportunity to build tourism.
“That’s where a lot of people are starting to see the benefits of the ATV as a tool for investment, money-making and raising money for charity,” Lee said. “That ties into the Ride for Dad, multi-use and economic spinoff for everybody.”