ATVs required to have a trail pass on Algonquin and K&P next year

Pembroke – ATV riders will be required to have a trail pass next year on both the Algonquin Trail and K& P Trail.

Renfrew County Council approved the requirement last Wednesday, noting there will be a modification to the existing lease with the Renfrew County ATV Club to reflect the trail pass requirements.

Requiring the pass was first approved in principle for the 2023 season earlier this year and last Wednesday staff returned to council with a more formal proposal. As part of this requirement, the Renfrew County ATV Club has agreed to contribute to the county with in-kind services and financial contribution to the tune of $34,660. This includes: $12,360 for trail warden services; $5,700 in trail event support; $6,600 for outreach and promotion; $8,000 in trail stewardship and $2,000 in financial contribution. The county will receive an annual contribution of three percent or a minimum of $2,000 of RCATV trail pass revenues. Staff will also review this agreement in 2025.

A letter from Denis Rule, second vice-president of the Renfrew County ATV Club and Teresa Hebb, past-president, noted the Ontario Federation of ATV Clubs trail permit would also extend to organizations that have a valid reciprocal agreement with the OFATV. They outlined the contribution through the in-kind work and financial contribution.

“RCATV will continue to apply for and support joint grant efforts and projects above and beyond the annual contribution in line with our annual budget planning,” the letter noted.

County staff also noted the benefits of the trail pass system, including the vision to have sustained trails across the entire system.

“As trail permits are RCATV’s only funding resource, having consistency in permit requirements will enable RCATV as a trail partner to continue to make financial investment toward the Algonquin Trail,” the report noted.

RCATV has been an Algonquin Trail partner in good faith, contributed hundreds of volunteer hours, an estimated $75,000 to support the Algonquin Trail and most recently donated $40,000 towards the Algonquin Trail, the report stated. As well the club continues to provide a variety of services including general trail maintenance including grading, metal removal and access points as well as marketing, responding to inquiries, providing signage and working with the county to address landowner concerns.

“Trail permit requirements generally bring with it greater rider responsibility and pride in the trail system, increased compliance with insurance, licence and overall better trail safety,” the county report noted.

“Riders who belong to a club and purchase permits are typically more informed, responsible and accountable for their actions and behaviours, potentially reducing instances of nuisance and unsafe behaviour,” the repot continued. “It is more supportive to trail tourism and rider experience for trail users to have consistency in the regulations for where a permit is and is not required across the entire Ottawa Valley. Enforcement by the Ontario Provincial Police is more efficient when there is consistency across the connected trail system. This will also reduce unintentional trespassing when riders move from unpermitted to permitted areas.”

There is more local support for permits as well, with over 3,200 permits sold in RCATV and over 13,000 in the Ontario Federation of ATV Clubs (OFATV) in just four years.

The report noted when the Algonquin Trail was first purchased in 2016, trail permit support was still low within Renfrew County with a membership of 72.

Communication Open In Laurentian Hills

Laurentian Hills Mayor Jed Reinwald said he wanted to ensure lines of communication were kept open with all stakeholders in the area around his community where the trail goes toward Deep River.

“There is also some private land, depending on where the trail goes,” he said.

He said ensuring there is proper coordination is key.

“It is going to require some cooperation and coordination between the landowners, the snowmobile clubs, the ATV clubs and Laurentian Hills because right now the snowmobile clubs they travel right through to the Town of Deep River and it is a great asset to have them there, so I hope coordination happens with the ATV club,” he said.

Having the trail is important to the economy of the area, he added

“It is a great asset,” he said.

Development and Property Manager Jason Davis promised there will be efforts toward ongoing communication, including with both the ATV club and the snowmobile club.

“We always encourage the two groups to work together,” he said.

The Town of Deep River has been discussing things with the snowmobile club and ATV club, Reeve Glenn Doncaster of Deep River said.

“Currently we don’t allow snowmobiles or ATVs on our streets, but we are looking at some options available for that,” he said.

If it reaches Deep River there would be a plan to get them downtown so they can access the business section there, he added.

“If they can’t get from the Algonquin Trail to the town it doesn’t matter,” he said. “It is important for economic development.”

He said there is a lot of consultation from residents about issues of ATVs and snowmobiles on streets.

“It is mostly to access our business section downtown,” he said.

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader