Trail Advocacy Initiatives
COHV plays a prominent role in the maintenance of off highway vehicle (OHV) land access.
There are two ways to maximize access to riding areas. The first method is to be Pro-Active. The second method is to be Re-Active.
Riding off road is a privilege, not necessarily a right in Canada. The “Crown Lands Act” may grant every Canadian access but it is up to the ministry in charge and its staff to define permitted uses. In order to be pro-active, COHV must educate the OHV rider community to ride responsibly.
In order to be allowed to ride on public land the riders must:
- Abide by local laws and bylaws.
- Ride responsibly and understand the rules and regulations.
- Share the trails in multi-user environments.
- Always, always respect and protect nature.
- Tread lightly.
The following behaviours are the top reasons to lose access to riding areas:
- Trespassing or riding off trail.
- Riding irresponsibly, not sharing the trail and yielding to other trail users.
- Riding machines that are very loud.
- Damaging the trail system by riding when the trails are out of season.
COHV supports provincial riding associations across Canada and works with them to train and educate riders to ride safely and responsibly. We, as an industry, can’t make a case to grant OHVs access to lands if the OHV riders are causing problems. The vast majority of riders are courteous to other trail users, ride safely, ride responsibly and enjoy experiencing nature on two wheels or four.
The provincial associations are the boots on the ground. They have the best knowledge of the riding areas and the issues that their region face. COHV provides financial support, standardized cross country practises and expertise in dealing with issues to the provincial associations.
COHV produces booklets and videos to promote responsible riding. The free booklets are available at www.cohv.ca, from local organizations and powersports dealers. The videos are available on the COHV You tube Channel and on the COHV Facebook page. The videos have been promoted through social media with tremendous success.
In addition to safety and responsible riding materials, COHV has prepared pro-active environmental awareness and educational videos.
The reactive method usually involves a threat to land access. The threat may originate from a past or present problem or it could be the result of a change in land management or a change in government. A reactive initiative is often employed due to pressure from extreme environmental groups with little regard to local communities, local priorities, impact on jobs, the economy and traditional access.
The COHV Manager of Government Relations works directly with local, provincial and federal governments to try to maintain all appropriate trails and riding areas. We also help the provincial federations build expertise to provide a more credible, local representation.