TATAMAGOUCHE – A local all-terrain vehicle club is hoping to educate the public this weekend on some of the things it does.
The North Shore ATV Club is hosting an open house on July 5, and non-members are encouraged to attend.
“We’re hoping members of the public will come and see what is going on with our club, and to see what other uses there are of ATVs,” said Ursula Ryle-Gulliver, the current club president. “They don’t have to have an ATV, they can even just bring their sneakers and head out onto our trails around the clubhouse. We actually have some geocaches hidden in on the trails for people to find.”
For roughly 10 years, the ATV club has been in existence and maintains approximately 11 kilometres of trail in the Gully Lake Wilderness Area, a provincially protected area in which the Cobequid Eco-Trails Society also maintains another 25 kilometres of hiking only trails. In 2013, the club upgraded four kilometres of that portion, which cost around $31,000. The money came from grants through the province and municipality, and was spent in the community using local businesses.
“We trim the sides of the trail, lay gravel and often do grading,” said Ryle-Gulliver, about the work that gets done on an annual basis.
“But the trails aren’t just for ATV use – it’s used by the local snowmobile club as well.”
As a member of the All-terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia, or ATVANS, the club is helping work on the mission of the association – to have a consecutive trail from one end of the province to the other.
“Right now, we’re unable to access completely the province in a continuous trail,” she said. “Often times to reach other trails, that requires traveling on the shoulder of the road, which is currently illegal. Even if we’re only going 200 yards.”
Because of the current regulations, the local club is circulating a petition to the Nova Scotia government regarding Off-Highway Vehicle Act regulations.
The petition is requesting amendments to regulations to permit riders to travel on the side of roadways for the purposes of trail connectivity; permit access to amenities for the purpose of accessing fuel, food, accommodations, etc.; and to eliminate closed courses and permit trained youth 15 and under to ride with adults on established trails.
“We’re hoping Colchester North MLA Karen Casey will be on site in the morning, and we will present her with our petition and its signatures,” said Ryle-Gulliver.
While the club is using the open house as an educational tool, it will also be used as a fundraiser to help with some needed repairs to the clubhouse.
Along with the upkeep of their trails and clubhouse, the club’s members are also community minded, having taken on another project – the upkeep of the Mackenzie Cemetery in Mackenzie Settlement. Club members mow, clean up and maintain the sign.
The open house runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 637 Upper Kemptown Rd.
There will be a barbecue on site with a 50/50 draw, raffle basket and geocaches. Peter Bush from Department of Environment Protected Areas and Ecosystems will be on hand, as will Doug Oliver from the Department of Natural Resources.