At their meeting on Nov. 17, Limerick Township council discussed a letter they received from Darren Stevens, the president of the Coe Hill Riders ATV Club, outlining the organizations activities, the financial investments in the local communities’ trails they ride on and accomplishments over the past several months. After a brief discussion, council filed the letter for information purposes.
Mayor Carl Stefanski brought up the CHATVC letter from Stevens at the Nov. 17 council meeting and Victoria Tisdale, the clerk and treasurer, told council it was an outline of the club’s activities and financial investments into the local communities, including Limerick since the beginning of the year. Limerick Township council previously heard from CHATVC over the summer, at their June 21 meeting, when Stevens made a presentation to council about enacting a land use agreement with Limerick for ATV riders with permits in the area to use the ATV trails in Limerick in exchange for insurance coverage and maintenance provided by the CHATVC. Council voted to go ahead with this agreement with some minor amendments and eventually passed a bylaw to this effect.
The CHATVC was established in May, 2018 as a non-profit incorporated organization and is a member of the Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicles. Volunteer operated; its membership stands at 248 people. They’ve mapped out nearly 600 kilometres of trails which are shown on the Quad ON app (available on Apple and Google Play) and these trails are all legallyaccessible by ATVs. They also do a lot for charitable organizations locally with their club rides; they have raised over $5,000 for the Coe Hill Food Bank, the local Fire Department, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Wollaston Library and others.
The letter that Limerick council received from Stevens was dated Oct. 15, and outlined the club’s activities, the financial investments in the local communities’ trails they ride on and their accomplishments overall since the beginning of 2021.
According to Stevens, Wollaston Township council approved the Off-Road Vehicle Bylaw, and following that meeting, the CHATVC bought and installed signs on the Wollaston trail outlining that a trail permit is required. In addition, the CHATVC completed bridge repairs in Wollaston Township. They launched the “Clean Trails Contest” in May and have encouraged riders to pick up and remove garbage from the trails. Stevens said the club truly appreciates everybody’s efforts to keep the trails clean and litter free.
During the summer months, Stevens said that he presented a delegation to Limerick council and signed a land use agreement for the section of the rail trail in Limerick that leads to Hwy 62. He says that the club has completed trail maintenance and grading twice along both township trails. In June, according to Stevens, the CHATVC applied to the Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicle Clubs for a $3,000 grant to give the club the financial assistance to complete a special project to raise the trail bed behind the fairgrounds, work which was successfully completed. According to Stevens, the area raised was behind the fairgrounds in Coe Hill.
“It was approximately a foot low below grade and usually becomes a large puddle. This causes the ATV riders to go around on the grass and when it’s wet it causes ruts. The property belongs to the Coe Hill Agricultural Society. We also raised a section of the Limerick trail, about 14 to 18 inches, where a large family of beavers constantly try to submerge the trail to connect the swamp on both sides of the trail. This is the section we suspect causes other watercourses to rise in the area,” he says.
Stevens said that they put in 54 yards of breaker rock, 30 yards of sand and rock in areas for coverage. Plus, grading was also completed.
The CHATVC held a charity ride on Aug. 28, and Stevens said they raised over $1,700 for the Coe Hill Food Bank, operating out of the local Legion.
During the fall months of September and October, the CHATVC held a charity ride on Oct. 2 and raised over $1,000 for the Wollaston Public Library. Two days later, the club rode the trail to investigate a complaint they got from a Limerick resident related to flooding.
Stevens said that the flooded property owner’s address was not given to them, so they took a guess and removed any beaver dams along the trail in Limerick.
“It could have been the cause but we don’t really know and cannot maintain areas on private lands without a land use agreement with the property owners. We have been trying to find a licenced trapper to remove the beavers, yet things have changed and the pelts are worth next to nothing nowadays, and the red tape has caused many trappers in the area to fold,” he says.
Stevens says that CHATVC volunteers regularly ride the trails to clean up debris and brush to improve and maintain the safety on the ATV trails.
In terms of financial investments in the local communities up to Oct. 15, the grand total came to $26,361.09. Stevens outlined it as follows; $2,469.05 for bridge repairs and grading in Wollaston, $2,836.30 for grading on the trails in Wollaston and Limerick, $15,933 for the special project to raise the trail behind the fairgrounds, $2,264.74 for purchased signage, $1,758 for donations to the local food bank and $1,100 for donations to the Wollaston Public Library.
Stevens concluded by saying that the CHATVC appreciates being able to partner with Limerick Township and hopes to have more charity rides in 2022 as COVID-19 hopefully subsides. He invited anyone wanting further information or queries to contact him at email@example.com or to follow CHATVC on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/coehillatvriderstalk/.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times