History of the Grand Forks ATV Club
“we sat on our ATVs at the Grand Forks Lookout, pondering what the future held for ATV riders in the region with all the trails and riding areas considered for closure”Cody Zorn – President 2008 to 2012
Tracks to the future of ATV
Since its official establishment in 2008, Grand Forks ATV has experienced significant growth, boasting a membership of around 100 individuals. Our collective achievements have been a source of great pride for us. Our primary mission has always been to foster an inclusive and responsible approach to the stewardship of our local recreational trails.
We actively support our members by offering certified ATV Safety Courses, which empower riders with the knowledge and skills necessary for safe off-road adventures. Additionally, we regularly organize community gatherings aimed at promoting the conscientious and secure utilization of outdoor spaces.
During our meetings and events, we extend our commitment to education by inviting guest speakers who impart valuable insights on topics such as wildlife conservation, invasive species management, and the regulations governing the use of Forest Service and non-status roads. Our dedication to informed and responsible outdoor recreation is at the core of our mission.
Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
At the time the club was formed, there was a movement to create a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for the Gilpin, Morrissey, Stewart Creek basins just east of Grand Forks. The objective behind this plan was to effectively manage the local wildlife population and preserve the natural habitat in the area. The proposal was initiated by a knowledgeable hunting guide who recognized the importance of sustainable wildlife management.
The proposed WMA encompassed numerous hectares of south-facing slopes, livestock range, and recreational areas that were frequented by residents and visitors alike. However, not everyone was in favor of this idea. Some members of the newly formed ATV Club expressed their concerns and dissatisfaction with the concept of extensive management.
Recognizing the need for balance and allowing for multiple uses of the land, the ATV Club decided to take action. They collectively penned letters to the ministry responsible for the proposed WMA, outlining their viewpoints and concerns. Through their proactive approach, they aimed to ensure that the rights and interests of various stakeholders in the community were taken into consideration.
Over time, the situation evolved, and in 2007, the Gilpin Grasslands Provincial Park was established in the region. This park, in conjunction with the collaborative efforts of the local community and stakeholders, has become a shining example of successful conservation and land management. The area now showcases the benefits of local groups working in harmony, demonstrating how costly management by the province can be minimized when diverse perspectives and sustainable practices are embraced.
Boundary Country Trails Agreement
In 2013, the inception of the Boundary Country Trails Agreement marked a significant milestone. It stands as the first agreement in British Columbia to garner signatures from a multitude of trail users, municipal governments, and other stakeholders who advocate for collaboration and cooperation in making decisions concerning trail-related matters within the region.
Multi-use Trail Networks
During the autumn of 2013, the GFATV Club embarked on an ambitious endeavor, bringing together a coalition of interested partners united by a common objective: the development of an educational project spanning the Morrissey, Gilpin, and Stewart Creek areas. These locales had been grappling with a myriad of issues stemming from a lack of clarity regarding private property boundaries, trapping regulations, unmarked trails, and the presence of several species at risk. The trail users in these areas often remained oblivious to these pressing concerns.
Despite the popularity of these outdoor destinations and their numerous attractions, the GFATV Club astutely identified a notable gap in educational resources. Their conviction was firmly grounded in the belief that over 90 percent of trail users would demonstrate a heightened sense of responsibility and environmental awareness if made cognizant of these pertinent issues. Consequently, all participating partners concurred on the necessity of formulating and presenting a comprehensive proposal to address these concerns.
The club’s initial vision revolved around the establishment of dedicated zones, colloquially referred to as staging sites. These sites were envisioned as offering essential amenities, including outdoor restroom facilities, educational materials, secure zones for unloading and loading equipment, safe off-road parking, and platforms for conducting awareness seminars. The proposed area featured a complex network of both old and new Forest Service Roads, which lacked proper signage to guide users, identify ecologically sensitive areas, outline seasonal wildlife awareness requirements, and prescribe methods for supporting conservation efforts. The creation of these staging areas would lay the foundation for a wide array of educational opportunities, with various interest groups poised to contribute to this noble educational mission once the sites were established.
In the spring of 2014, a proposal was presented to interested partners, receiving a warm reception from all who attended. Subsequently, public meetings were held to gather feedback, and the proposal was modified to incorporate the concerns expressed by the community.
Early in April and May, additional public events were organized to showcase maps of the proposed trails, allowing for more input and active participation from the community and the numerous partners.
With the confirmed commitment from the partners, the GFATV Club successfully secured a Job Creation Grant through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. The grant funding was allocated to develop trails and signage, establish three staging areas, install five heritage benches, and clear over 134 kilometers of existing Forest Service Roads.
In 2015, with the collaborative efforts of the partners, educational workshops were organized for a diverse range of users, both motorized and non-motorized, with a focus on promoting respect for wildlife, the environment, private property rights, and various tenure holders within the area.
During 2015, the GFATV Club forged partnerships with the National Trails Coalition and the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation to undertake the “Trails of the North Fork” project. This project entailed the completion of the Bluejoint Recreation Site, signing approximately 500 kilometers of trails in the North Fork region, and the installation of numerous historic signs.
The Grand Forks ATV Club remains committed to its proactive approach in managing natural resources, understanding that addressing issues before they become insurmountable is crucial. While challenges persist, the club firmly believes that through continued education, they can drive positive change and encourage responsible use of the natural environment.
Future of Motorized
The future of accessing the backcountry and BC Parks, whether on an electric bike, a motorized OHV, or an electric OHV, remains uncertain at best. There is a pressing need for increased public education to highlight the advantages of responsible motorized trail use. We are committed to collaborating with provincial authorities and fellow trail users to promote harmonious and responsible trail system utilization in our region.
Our dedication to trail maintenance and signage not only fosters safer trails but also aids Search & Rescue in their critical operations. Many members of our club face accessibility challenges, with some having distinct disabilities and handicaps. For them, these motorized vehicles serve as substitutes for crutches, canes, walkers, and even wheelchairs, enabling them to fully immerse themselves in the wonders of the great outdoors, much like their able-bodied counterparts. They relish the breathtaking vistas, the outdoor experience, the fresh air, the camaraderie, and the sheer joy of being out on the trail.
As technology advances, the possibilities for what we might ride and where we might go are boundless, adding an exciting element to our future trail experiences.