An ATV Community Comes Together

The Thousand Islands gets its own ATV Club

I've been riding dirt bikes since I was six or seven. My first ATV was a brand new Honda—a big, red three-wheeler back in 1984. It was an ATC200ES with reverse. That was the Cadillac of the Honda in those days. I graduated to four wheels when I hit my late teens and haven’t looked back. ATVing feeds my passion for being out in the woods and seeing the things that you can’t see otherwise.

In the past, I'd run into Dave Baker (Nation Valley ATV) a couple of times at outdoor shows. We'd discussed the benefits of my becoming an OFATV member. I was tired of trying to find a place to ride. I got thinking that maybe other people might have the same problem as I was having. So, I put an ad in the local newspaper to have a general meeting to see if there were others that shared my thoughts.

atv group on trails
atv group on trails 2
line of atvs

I invited Mr. Baker to come and present in May of 2013. To my surprise, 55 people showed up and the meeting was a success. The Nation Valley ATV Club sponsored our first meeting in June and helped us get the proper paperwork and funds to get our own club up and running. Our first meeting consisted of about 40 people, and by the end of the night 14 of them had signed up. This was the start of our club. We became incorporated within two weeks. We had our name. We had some funds from memberships. In July we broke away from Nation Valley and became our own club: The Thousand Islands ATV Club.

We have created about 50 km of trails and look forward to making about 150 km more by next year. Our membership grew a little every month, and by the end of October we had 31 members. We are in the process of building bridges and trails.

grooming trails
groomed trail

We have had numerous meetings with the county, township and local town to gain access to land and road allowances. We have received a great response from land owners. Over 90% of landowners asked have been on-board. The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands has been extremely supportive with the use of land. The Counties of Leeds and Grenville have given us permission to travel on roads to connect to trails. The town of Gananoque is working with us on making a trail through town.

We have had donations from lumber suppliers for bridges, steel, telephone poles, and some money for signs. We have a local establishment that donates a meeting room every month. What's more, our club recently won the bid to host the OFATV Annual General Meeting in June of 2014. We are gaining exposure in the community by having participated in two Christmas parades, and our club has been asked to host the ATV Pulls in the 150th Lansdowne Fair in July 2014.

water crossing

Before the first meeting, I thought this might be a waste of time. However, it has become one of the biggest projects that I have been a part of. I am proud of our community for the support that they have given us. All of this and more in a few short months has been overwhelming at times, but the wish of having safe and legal trails close to home has made it all worth it.

I suggest to anyone who has nowhere to ride to contact the Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicles, whether you just want a place to ride or you think you can create your own club. They are there to help. 

About Greg Potvin

Greg has been riding off-road for about 37 years, and is currently the President of the Thousand Islands ATV Club.

Recommended Articles

Ontario ATV Events

Poker Runs, Mud Bogs, Charity Rides, Rallies and more!

Where to Stay in Ontario

10 Amazingly ATV-Friendly Lodges and Resorts

Everyone is welcome!

Law Change Allows All Off-Road Vehicles Access to Public Roads

Which Permit Do I Need for this Trail?

How to Navigate Ontario's ATV Trails

Ride On

How to legally ride ATVs and Side by Sides

Will you ride the new electric wave?

Quieter, cooler, made in Canada, and better for the environment—these lean green ATVs have it all.

Getting Started on ATVing in Ontario

Everything you need to know.

One of Ontario's best-kept secrets

World-class riding in Bancroft

Central Ontario ATV Club

From Wasaga Beach to Barrie and beyond

Riding Into the 2023/2024 ATV Season

New, improved, and more to choose from — check out what's standing out in this season's lineups.

Ride the North

5 ATV Adventures Worth Trailering To

Guided ATV Tours

Are You Ready to Hit the Trails?

Winter ATVing

No need to store your ride for the season.

Off-road Adventures Close to Home

The 9 best ATV tours in "Southern" Ontario

What To Pack For An ATV Ride

16 essential items from tool kits to apps and safety gear

ATV Clubs of Ontario

The Complete List

ATVing Algonquin West

Best Trails in Ontario

4 places to camp and ride in Ontario

Hop aboard for some ATV adventure camping!

Family-Friendly ATV Riding in Ontario

Here are 3 spots to check out with the kids

Trail Into History

An ATV mission to an abandoned train station