Trail Users – Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers, Greg and Rich, were kind enough to send us pictures and comments about our trails:

“We enjoyed riding the Orangeville-Owen Sound rail trail immensely and very much appreciate all the work you folks do to maintain it … We found the trail conditions to be excellent for mountain biking. In general, hard-packed gravel is perfect but of course, where the trail is freshly groomed the softer gravel or sand makes it tougher going. The Orangeville-Shelburne segment was mostly hard-packed I would say. The trail got a bit softer in sections north of Dundalk. In the vicinity of Holland Centre there were work crews actively grooming the trail. For a few kilometers the trail was being graded by an operator and then for several more kilometers north of that was freshly laid crushed limestone and another crew were working on spreading and packing it. From that point north to Owen Sound it was all crushed limestone and the trail was in excellent condition.”  Rich M.

“My friend Rich and I had an awesome mountain bike ride From Caledon to Owen Sound on Monday and returning on Tuesday, for a total of 300k. The best part was the 100k of Dufferin and Grey County rail trails. Thanks for having them so well maintained.”  Greg A-B.

While Dufferin Grey ATV Club membership is for riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs, 2-Ups, Side-by-sides), we do consider ourselves a custodian of the trails for other users as well.

In the summer the public trails are shared by walkers, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. ATVs are permitted on the trails throughout the ATV season. Motorcycles are not permitted.

In the winter snowmobiles use much of the same trail (although not identical as they are subject to different landowner agreements). Walkers and cross-country skiers also enjoy the groomed trails.

Dufferin Grey ATV Club spends a significant sum of money from user fees and fundraising on trail maintenance every year. Funds and Volunteer hours go towards grass mowing; tree trimming; brush and trash cleanup; gravel for filling holes, smoothing slopes and preventing erosion; dust suppression; safety; signage; gate installation and maintenance; bridge building and maintenance.

When the trails are tended for ATV/snowmobile use, all users benefit.



 

Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act

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In May 2015, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Coteau, introduced a bill:
• to increase awareness and encourage use of Ontario trails;
• to enhance trails and trail experience;
• to recognize the contribution that trails make to quality of life; and
• to protect trails for today’s and future generations.

Bill 100, known as the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, became a concern for landowners and trail stewards. The section of the bill regarding establishment of easements to protect the trails for future generations caused alarm.

At the time the impacts of the bill and reasons for government interference were generally unclear. Advisory groups committed to protecting land rights recommended stopping the bill. Some Landowners felt it better to be safe than sorry and refused to let trails cross their properties.

After one year, much discussion and final amendments, Bill 100 was passed by the Ontario legislature on June 1, 2016. Today it is clear that the granting of easements by property Landowners to ATV, snowmobile and other clubs is on a voluntary basis only. In fact, most clubs, including Dufferin Grey ATV Club, prefer traditional Landowner Agreements and will not pursue an easement in any way.

Landowners can rest assured that their property rights are safe. However, if a Landowner needs that extra layer of confidence, make sure this clause is included in the Landowner Agreement: “the Landowner/Occupier by signing this Landowner Agreement is NOT requesting nor granting permission for a registered easement over designated premises.”

 

Link to Legislative Assembly of Ontario – Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2016

Bill 100 has been enacted as Chapter 8 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2016. The Bill enacts the Ontario Trails Act, 2016 and makes amendments to the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act, the Occupiers’ Liability Act, the Off-Road Vehicles Act, the Public Lands Act and the Trespass to Property Act.



 

 

Side-by-Sides & 2-Ups

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Since July 1st, 2015 side-by-sides and 2-ups* are legally allowed on the roads in Ontario, but each municipality must amend their by-laws to allow the vehicles locally. To that end, OFATV clubs approached each of the regional counties and townships asking to amend the by-laws so that side-by-sides and 2-ups can be welcomed on local trails.

2-ups were an easy sell. Today 2-ups are allowed on all of DGATV’s trails, however, the larger side-by-sides are another matter.

Side-by-sides are not allowed on county-owned properties, the CP rail trail or the forest properties, including Harkaway Forest, without special permission.

DGATV continues to petition the counties hoping to approve and widen the rail trail gates (maximum vehicle width 65”) to accommodate these larger machines. Progress is being made so keep an eye on our social media for special events that welcome side-by-sides.

Side-by-sides are allowed on most municipal roads and the majority of county roads, as well as private property. DGATV has a private property in Walters Falls where members can ride although some of the trails are challenging.

Dufferin County

In Dufferin County, side-by-sides are not allowed on the rail trail, in the forests or on the roads. However, Amaranth, East Luther and Melancthon municipal roadways are open.

Grey County

In Grey County, side-by-sides are not allowed on the rail trail or in the county forests pending their overall forest trail strategy.  All municipal roads and the majority of county roads are open for the season.  A map of open Grey County roads (.pdf) is available at GreyCounty.ca.

What Can You Do?

Let the counties know that you would visit, or would visit our area again, if side-by-sides are welcome on the trail. For Dufferin County e-mail info@dufferincounty.ca with your comments. For Grey County e-mail tourism@visitgrey.ca.

 

*  Single-rider bikes with an added-on passenger seat are not considered 2-ups and are not legal to ride on the roads with a passenger.



 

Trail Closure – Harkaway Forest (2016)

trail-closed-002Harkaway Forest Trail Closed for the Winter

Grey County has closed Harkaway Forest to ATVs effective October 15, 2016.

Riders, please respect our landowner agreement and keep your ATV out of the forest.

Your participation is crucial in keeping this tract available to us.

Harkaway Forest is expected to re-open June 15th (in order to accommodate the turkey hunt).