The Norfolk County ATV club recently received a government grant of $ 22,930 courtesy of the National Trails Coalition. Club president Ken Person of Delhi is hoping the funds will help bring in new members. (JACOB ROBINSON Simcoe Reformer)
The Norfolk County ATV club is hoping a recent grant of $22,930 from the federal government will return the group to prominence.
Numbers for the local organization have waned since its inception in 2008, largely due to a stall in new trail development, but a grant courtesy the National Trails Coalition has current members thinking big.
“At one time, back in 2008 when the club first got established we were up to 70 (members), but the membership fell off due to the lack of trail system, so we're trying to build that back now,” said current club president Ken Person of Delhi.
“Now this money's come across our plate, we'll be able to lease some equipment to improve our trails, to create new trails. Right now we have about 30-35 km of trails in total and what we're doing now is we're really trying to get new members to come out.”
In addition to the grant, the ATV club took a major step forward last year when Norfolk County council unanimously approved some road allowance in the Courtland area.
“We have to have a decent system. Thirty kilometres doesn't sound like very much trail but we can double that with the work of volunteers,” Person predicted.
“We have the potential to go all the way to Tillsonburg with this trail, but we need to blaze it. It's partly there, but we need helpers to run the equipment and things like that to fill it in, to complete the loop.”
Grant money won't just be spent on rental equipment, but can be allocated for materials to build bridges, spread gravel and post signage if needed. A total of $10 million has become available for the National Trails Coalition from 2014 and 2016 to help expand and rehabilitate Canada’s snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle and non-motorized trail system.
“The Harper Government is committed to expanding and improving these recreational trails right here in Norfolk County,” Haldimand-Norfolk member of parliament Diane Finley said in a press release. “By investing in trail infrastructure, our government is encouraging job creation, linking communities and increasing recreational opportunities for all Canadians. I’m proud that our government is continuing to support economic growth while ensuring that small communities like ours remain among the best in the world to live.”
The ATV club has the backing of the county's road department as well as the OPP, which does some training on the trails.
Person hopes the new trails will create a better relationship between local riders and land owners.
“We've already purchased some signage and through OFATV (Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicle Clubs). We've got a $15 million liability policy now, so if any framers who would see fit to let us go through their property in certain areas or create a (trail), they're all covered,” Person pointed out. “(The trail is) going to keep the ATVers out of the field where farmers don't want, and that's what we're trying to do, get them on to the trail.”
An OFATV trail pass goes for $150 and allows a rider to travel across any trail in Ontario. The money goes towards trail maintenance.
A number of Norfolk-based rides and events are in the works for the 2015 season. The group is also accepting donations in the form of old ginseng posts and lumber. Anyone looking for more information can contact Person at email@example.com or log onto facebook.com/groups/NorfolkCountyATVClub.