Hope everyone had a great summer and is enjoying the Fall season with the beautiful colours and cool crisp air… although for some a little colder than usual with snow coming early, looks like we could be in for a long cold winter! Might be a good year to install a track to play in the snow!
Our focus this year continues to be on ORV tourism and improving community connectivity and incidental access to designated routes in town to access fuel/food/lodging to create a viable tourism product for our rural communities. With the downturn in forestry and caribou closures in the north affecting tourism, it is imperative that the small villages and communities find ways to diversify their economy and ORV tourism checks all the boxes
We have been liaising with local government throughout the year in preparation of Resolution B121 coming forward at the UBCM Convention. Working with Marie Crawford and Art Kaehn from UBCM and Vera Vukelich from FLNRO, the UBCM ORV Working Group was re-engaged with 21 local government groups on the first call in Aug. We then worked with those groups to develop messaging and materials in support of the resolution and liaised at the UBCM show further with interested communities and now have 30-35 local community groups participating. It was extremely rewarding to attend the UBCM show and share info with so many communities — it far exceeded our expectations with great fun had by the UBCM Team of Clint Ingham, Mike Coulter and myself — talk about great guys to work with, with incredible dedication and enthusiasm!
Several communities are requesting pilot programs similar to the golf cart program in Chase, which would allow ATVs to access routes in town designated by local municipality without the need for an operation permit.
The Ministry of Transportation recently announced proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act to allow the use of increasingly diverse modes of personal transportation and “the amendments will also allow pilot projects to be established, giving government the chance to partner with communities in researching and testing how new mobility technologies fit in. Currently, a device that does not fall under the act’s definition of a motor vehicle, cycle or pedestrian is not permitted to operate on highways or sidewalks. However, some new devices struggle to fit into any category and become “unauthorized vehicles”. These amendments will give government the ability to address this.” READ MORE
Next steps will involve reconvening the UBCM ORV Working Group now that Resolution B121 has passed to discuss further strategies and advocacy support for improvements to the operation permit process to better access services.
ATVBC also recently participated in the Provincial Trails Strategy review consultation that is being undertaken on behalf of PTAB, by MNP Consulting to determine progress on the Trails Strategy’s 22 actions, trends influencing trail use, key challenges, and benefits of sustainable trail systems. ATVBC has identified the top 3 challenges as: lack of funding, extensive delays in obtaining approvals (sec 57) for trail maintenance, achieving a balance between user groups to allow everyone the opportunity to access and enjoy the trail through an inclusive trail system.
During trail stakeholder consultations ATVBC continues to advocate for Recreation Legislation as the Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA) sets out objectives and regulations for 11 resource values, including recreation however recreation is an orphaned value under FRPA as it is a forest resource but not part of forestry or range activities and does not have its own legislation and government program to fully mange is diverse activities therefore legislation should be developed to better manage and protect recreation and tourism values, which would also encompass trail development.
The Provincial Trails Advisory Body (PTAB) was formed in 2015 with a mandate to advise the BC Government on trails planning and management and provide recommendations on the implementation of the Provincial Trails Strategy, and is comprised of 15 members representing broad outdoor interests, with co-chairs Tennessee Trent, RSTBC and Louise Pedersen, ORC.
We would like to thank Bob Holland from the Revelstoke ATV Club for being one of the members initially appointed to PTAB, and for his continued support and valuable contributions on PTAB for many years.
As Bob’s term has now ended, we are pleased to advise that Wayne Mercer, ATVBC Director was nominated and elected to PTAB and joins the following members from the ORC to the new Provincial Trails Advisory Body:
Wayne Mercer ATVBC
Kim Reeves Four Wheel Drive Assoc of BC
Liz Saunders Horse Council of BC
Neil Shuttleworth Trails BC
Eric Vanderkruk IMBA Canada
Dave Wharton Federation of Mountain Clubs in BC
Just a brief reminder regarding grant opportunities for 2020 as the first intake for the ATVBC Trails Grant Program will be in early 2020 to coincide with the Provincial ORV Trail Fund intake to allow clubs to leverage funding from ATVBC grant towards provincial funding. Please watch for further info as the dates get closer – just wanted to get this on your radar as it comes up fast after Christmas. If your club isn’t doing any trails work you can still apply for funding for club promotion and membership drives, and many other opportunities under “safe and responsible use” component of the Provincial ORV Trail Fund.
We are currently preparing for the annual Fall Directors Meeting and looking forward to meeting with the Board in Kamloops at the end of Oct to discuss strategies and prepare for the 2020 season.
Safe & Happy Riding!