Happy New Year!

It’s been a few months since I have written to the membership, and some would suspect with the cold weather and winter season upon us that my inbox would be slowing down this time of year. Sadly, this was not so true this holiday season, but for good reason.  I believe as we are making great strides building relationships with stakeholders, government and fellow outdoor recreation leaders to advocate for fair access to our trails all around BC. The new year saw an increase of communications between ATVBC and Provincial Government to address recent closures including concerns in the East and West Kootenay’s and road blockages in the Ashnola area.

I believe with the announcement in November 2023 of $1 Billion in support from the Federal and Provincial Government towards the development of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA), that we must do our part to further understand these goals and potential impacts and how we can build relationships and opportunities for our members to engage and become part of the conversations. Over the course of the coming months ATVBC will be digging deeper into this subject, building connections and better understanding to bring back to our members.

IPCA’s are one part of the Federal Governments commitment to their 30 by 30 nature conservation goals which will change the way in which all outdoor recreationalists operate.

Updates requested by ATVBC and our partners in the BC Powersports Coalition for changes to the ORV Trail Fund have been reviewed and some new changes have been added to the 2024 application process. The new intake for 2024 will be open at the end of January.

For those clubs looking to apply for funding to support their 2024 projects, we have just launched our 2nd grant intake for 2024 on January 15th. This intake will close on March 15th with final grant award notifications sent out by end of April. Check out our website for further details.

It’s a long time coming but its finally here!!  The ATVBC Strategic Plan is completed by our dedicated Board of Directors and was announced to the membership in early January. To ensure all our goals are met, a subsequent tactical plan was created with the help of ATVBC committee members, directors and staff to outline how our 2024 goals would be accomplished.

We signed our new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with our friends at the Four-Wheel Drive Association of BC (4wdabc) in mid-December and have been actively working together since, on ways to address our common concerns for the shutdown of the Gill Bar Recreation area in Chilliwack.  Our media release  calling for further consultation on the decision to close this important area received a lot of media attention and a response from the City of Chilliwack. Shortly after our request, the provincial government announced a $1.5million Grant funding for the Stó:lō Service Agency on behalf of the Pil’alt Tribe for the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund project. We are looking forward to working with the parties involved to assist in developing a plan to allow all members of the community access to this important outdoor recreation area. We will reach out to these parties to share our offer to assist in this planning moving forward. We believe all citizens have a right to access our crown lands to experience the overall benefits of outdoor recreation and we believe the Gill Bar recreation area is big enough for everyone, if managed correctly and thus would become a huge asset to the community of Chilliwack.

We have continued our conversations this past month with our contacts at Rec Sites and Trails to advocate for changes to the ORV Act to allow communities to create routes from trails into communities for riders to access basic amenities. Every week we have another community reaching out asking how they can bring this into their own community. We are encouraged by the work that is being done at the local level with the support of our ATV clubs and members and we are excited to bring these examples forward to government to show how this can work around the province!

Last but not least, the 2023 Fall 50/50 draw took place on Dec 15th, congratulations to the lucky winner Dennis L, from Kimberley BC who won $7,857 just in time for Christmas!

After all the dust settled on our expenses and prize payouts, our 2 draws we held in 2023 were able to raise $9650 towards our Grant Intake #1. Stay tuned for more details on the 2024 draws coming this spring!

Until next month, stay warm, ride safe, ride smart!