The Sooke ATV Club is set to expand its influence in a big way in 2021

Club Profile: Sooke ATV Club

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A group of ATVers gather around a dumpster full of garbage in the forest.

Last summer, the Sooke ATV Club organized an environmental cleanup that resulted in two tons of garbage being removed from areas off of Forebay Road. — Photo courtesy Dillon Baycroft

The Sooke ATV Club may be new to Vancouver Island, but this ambitious group, led by president Dillon Baycroft, is set to expand its influence in a big way in 2021.

Baycroft started the Sooke ATV Club in the summer of 2019 and the organization already has 50 members in its two years of existence.

As most of Vancouver Island is privately owned, much of the backcountry access roads are gated and locked. Because of this, the Sooke ATV Club has a limited riding area.

“When we started the Sooke ATV Club, our main goal was to gain access to this private land through negotiations and land access agreements with the local forestry companies and land management companies,” said Baycroft. “We sent in our application for a land access agreement and are very excited about the amount of riding opportunities this will create for our club. This upcoming agreement is a first of its kind as it’s not just with our club, but a coalition of clubs across Vancouver Island, which means members of our club would be able to access over one million hectares of land that was previously gated and not available to us.”

Tansky Riding Recreation Site

As it stands right now, the Club’s current riding area is about 600 square kilometres. The most popular place to ride within the Sooke ATV Club’s trail system is the Tansky Riding Recreation Site, which is located about 45 minutes from Sooke, near the town of Jordan River. This multi-use trail network started as a dirtbike riding area and has slowly evolved and widened to support ATV riders as well. It has numerous dirt bike and ATV accessible trails.

“The ATV trails in the Tansky Rec Site are popular for riders of different skill levels from beginners to advanced riders,” Baycroft said. “The trails themselves wind through large areas of coastal forests, are tight in spots and offer some moderate to advanced obstacles. The trail network is well mapped and signs are posted at each trailhead/junction. These signs show if the trails are ATV-friendly or single-track only.”

Dillon Baycroft has a shaved head and goatee and moustache. He is standing in front of a row of ATVs.

Dillon Baycroft founded the Sooke ATV Club two years ago and has big plans for the club’s future. — Photo courtesy Dillon Baycroft

The Sooke ATV Club also has legal access to areas off of Forebay Road. These trails consist of old logging roads that have grown over. They are spacious and lead to some nice lakes.

The Club has been working with the other user groups to enhance the trail network to include a wider variety of riding options for ATVs and trail-width side-by-sides.

Forging ahead to Forebay

2021 is sure to be a busy year for the Sooke ATV Club. While the Club’s access agreements are being worked on, they’ll be occupying their time by working on and maintaining their current trail system.

“We will be out at Tansky spreading gravel and cleaning up the bush off of Forebay,” said Baycroft. “We won’t be meeting in large numbers for the foreseeable future but we all get out there on our own and do our part.”

A green ATV is parked on a trail that is obstructed by a line of downed trees.

“We will be out at Tansky spreading gravel and cleaning up the bush off of Forebay. We won’t be meeting in large numbers for the foreseeable future but we all get out there on our own and do our part.” — Dillon Baycroft — Photo courtesy Dillon Baycroft

Accomplishments achieved by the Sooke ATV Club:

Despite being a relatively new club and dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, the Sooke ATV Club has been busy looking after their trail network and the community at large. Here’s what they’ve been up to in the past year:

  1. Organized an environmental cleanup that resulted in two tons of garbage being removed from areas off of Forebay Road
  2. Donated 20 tons of road base gravel to the Tansky Riding area to be used as topping material for the trails
  3. Donated $350 to the local Food Bank in Sooke
  4. Created a coalition that banded all the ATV clubs on the island together to approach the land management companies to create a land access agreement
     

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