Thunder Bay·Superior Morning

Manitouwadge hopes to grow with ATV jamboree

Organizers of a popular ATV event in Manitouwadge hope to attract more people to the second annual ATV Jamboree.

Have ATV - will travel

Kevin Turner and Karen Robinson are two of the organizers of the Manitouwadge ATV Jamboree. The event is scheduled for July 16. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
He's back on the road...the CBC's Jeff Walters is out on the highway, finding stories from across northwestern Ontario. Jeff has a great story about an ATV Fest planned for Manitouwadge 8:19

Organizers of a popular ATV event in Manitouwadge hope to attract more people to the second annual ATV Jamboree.

The event, which is essentially a poker run on ATVs, attracted about 75 riders last year. Organizers hope for at least 100 this year. 

"Everybody has fish derbies and other things, we wanted to be a little unique," said Kevin Turner, one of the organizers. He also operates Turner's Outdoor Adventures, a local outfitting business.

Turner, along with Manitouwadge's economic development commission hope the ride will attract new people to the community, that may want to stay long-term.

"Our bylaws permit the bikes to drive on all the streets in town, except for one. But, for retired people to come in they can get gas, or grab a coffee, or head out for a ride, or just putt around town. It's kinda nice."

Huron Walk is the main street in Manitouwadge, Ont. It's also the only street where ATVs are not allowed. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Bring new people to town

"Our biggest issue is how do we bring them off that highway. 54 kilometres is a long way to go, if you don't know what you're coming into town for," said Karen Robinson, Manitouwadge's economic development assistant.

"So, this ATV event, we've been advertising outside our town, hoping that we can bring people down that highway."

Robinson said it's a challenge to help re-develop Manitouwadge, which lost its primary industry in 2005 when the nearby Golden Giant Mine shut down.

A view of Manitouwadge, Ontario taken from Ski Hill Road. There are approximately 40 homes for sale in the community. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

A company helped sell the houses in town that were owned by the mine, but now, many are once again for sale as retirees that moved to the community at the end of Highway 614 a decade ago, are now leaving.

"We have houses to sell, we have all kinds of things that people aren't aware are here. I think our play in the extreme has always been very popular as far as the canoeing, and the falls, we have beautiful falls to look at. We have other stuff that they don't know is here."

The Manitouwadge ATV Jamboree takes place on July 16. Interested riders can find more information here.

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