P.E.I. ATV Federation works with landowners to build trail system

The P.E.I. ATV Federation is working to get written permission from landowners to create a private trail system on the Island.

Federation needs more members to help create and maintain trails says president

The P.E.I. ATV Federation says they need more members to help build and maintain a trail system across the Island. (CBC)

The P.E.I. ATV Federation is working to get written permission from landowners to create a private trail system on the Island.

Paul Wilbert said the group has 100 kilometres of trails under construction in Queens County, and 50 kilometres in eastern Kings County.

But Wilbert, who has been president of the federation since January, said they need more people to sign up as members to help.

He said of the approximately 15,000 people on the Island with off-road vehicles, only 600 are registered with the federation or one of the four local clubs.

Wilbert added those 600 members can only do so much trail clearing, signage and maintenance.

"If a club can only manage 30 or 40 or 50 kilometers and that's it, then that's what it's going to be. We need a club to properly manage what they have, because there's lots of trails. Clubs need to be able to be out there daily or weekly at the very least maintaining those trails and keeping them open."

ATV clubs on P.E.I. include the Tignish Sportsman Riders, the Evangeline ATV Club, the Queens County Trailblazers and the Eastern Kings ATV Club.

Win-win situation

Wilbert said the federation and clubs are working with landowners and watershed groups to meet their conditions including staying away from wetlands and farmer's crops.

The ATV Federation president cited an example where the co-operation between ATV riders and farmers and landowners working together.

Wilbert said 30 kilometres of trails have been cleared in the Queen County area off the Brackley Point Road that run through wooded areas and through the hedgerows in the farming community.

Volunteers cleaned up hedgerows that landowners or farmers had never done, creating more area for them to plant crops.

"We're putting orange stakes in the ground that riders are between the orange stakes and the trees and the hedgerow out of the crop and the stakes also show the farmers that if they go too close in to they'e going to hit stumps," said Wilbert.

"So it's a win win situation for both riders and especially the farming community. We've had bikes going through fields that are now going around the fields and into the hedgerows or into the woods. In my area, there's no crop damage right now."

The federation has a $15 million master insurance policy that covers all clubs and the federation for general liability. This covers 150 members and 125 kilometres of trail. Every additional member costs $5 to the policy, and every extra kilometre adds a $4 per kilometre cost to the policy.

Landowners who give permission to have a trail on their property are provided with a copy of the insurance certificate as well.

With files from Laura Chapin