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.”
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.
Harkaway 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).
*** WALTERS FALLS TRACT IS CURRENTLY CLOSED ***
Walters Falls Tract is a 300-acre rural private property near Markdale kindly made available to us by the landowner. It is available for riding throughout the year.
Walters Falls Tract is ideal for off-road and family riding.
There is winter riding at the Walters Falls Tract. It is recommended that your vehicle be equipped with tracks in the snow. Trails are not groomed and the parking area is not plowed.
Walters Falls Tract may be closed in the spring if the season is too wet. Be sure to check our website in advance for status.
DGATV maintains parking, picnic tables and portable toilet facilities at the site during the riding season.
When you visit the property it is advisable to dress appropriately and have extra fuel, drinking water, snack, rain gear, bug spray, basic repair tools, band-aids, compass, map and cell phone on hand. We advise that you ride with a friend, let someone else know where you are going and when you are expected to return. Note that there may not be cell service in the area.
Please be diligent in keeping the land clear of garbage, pack out what you take in, respect other riders, watch your noise level and be considerate of local residents. The landowner gets nothing in return for our use of the land and can withdraw permission at any time. Remember that the way you ride reflects on us all.
Follow Highway 10 north to the town line north of Markdale. Turn east on the town line and follow the road to the parking lot just past County Road 40 West. The entrance to the parking lot on the town line is just before County Road 40 East.
GPS Coordinates: 44.476247,-80.697879
We thank our Volunteers, our Landowners, our Sponsors and our Members.
Last review: January 4, 2020
In general DGATV’s season on the public trails starts around May 1st (weather-permitting) and goes until November 30th or until snow cover. However, dates depend on where you ride. Please check our social media for seasonal confirmation.
Harkaway Forest is closed to ATVs on October 15th (until June 20th).
Grey County closes their county roads to ATVs on November 10th.
All other public trails including the rail trail stay open to ATVs until November 30th or snow cover, whichever comes first.
On the private trails at Walters Falls Tract, ATVs can be used year-round. It is recommended that appropriate safety precautions be taken in this remote location, especially in the winter. Tracks are recommended in winter. Ride with a companion and let people know where you are going. Cell phone service may not always be available.
Note that other clubs have different open/close dates — it all comes down to the local by-laws and landowner agreements. The onus is on You, the Rider, to know the rules of the area before you ride.