A Club's First Ride

The Thousand Islands ATV Club Shows New Clubs How It Should Be Done

It all began last year at the Valley Sportsman Show in Carp, Ontario.  I was assisting the Ottawa Valley ATV Club by manning a booth at the show, adding some Nation Valley ATV Club and OFATV presence, when I met a man by the name of Greg Potvin.

I had met Greg a few weeks previously at the Ottawa Boat and Sportsman Show, and I was starting to think I was getting a stalker! However, Greg had expressed interest in starting a club in the Gananoque/Landsdowne area, and I had filled his head with information about how to do so, and about the OFATV. When he came back to talk to me again, we knew he meant business. 

A few weeks later I was standing in the Gananoque Arena, giving a presentation on how to start a club with the OFATV in front of 40 ATV enthusiasts from the area, and the rest is history, as they say. The Thousand Islands ATV Club was born. They started as a chapter club of the Nation Valley ATV Club, and 30 members later, they were a full-blown club standing on their own two feet.

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Eight months after that, the Thousand Islands ATV Club was hosting a ride for the grand opening of their trails, and hosting the Ontario Federation of All-Terrain Vehicles Annual General meeting all in the same weekend.

Nation Valley ATV Club certainly was not going to miss this weekend. The weekend began with a Friday night ride to break in the new Thousand Islands ATV Club trails. Coinciding with the AGM, Presidents and members of OFATV clubs across the entire province were on hand to help them test out their new trails.

ride 1 group prepares

Thousand Islands ATV Club had made an agreement with Leeds and the Thousand Islands Township for a property to use as a staging and parking area for the club. We gathered at the staging area, and were joined by representatives from Polaris Rider-X and the Ministry of Transportation

ride 4 group
ride 7 mud
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We were led through winding wooded trails, over rocks and scraggly landscapes. It was a welcome change to the terrain we are used to at home. Eventually were came upon the mythical bridges we had heard so much about and were eager to behold. One of TIATVC’s obstacles to overcome was entering and departing a wooded pasture field, without using a gate or a Texas bridge. We thought TIATVC was nuts when they told us they had satisfied the landowner’s request by building bridges that went up and over the fences, and we were eager to behold. They did not disappoint: the bridges were unique and an outside-the-box idea to solve a real-world problem. Riding the trails through the pasture alongside the livestock was interesting, and the trails we followed through there were clearly cowpaths of the most literal sense!

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The TIATVC trails also offered plenty of mud, water, and terrain, with trails along the VIA Railway tracks where there were ample trains excited to blow their horns to the ATV crowd.

With a heavy dose of trails under our belts, congratulations were due for the newest OFATV club as we headed back and checked into our accommodations at the Travelodge in Gananoque.  The Travelodge was affordable and met our standard needs. The room had a patio door, leading to an extensive deck that allowed us all to congregate outside to relay the stories of the day, and somewhere to leave our muddy boots. Once we were freshened up, we went across the parking lot to Cousins on King for some delicious pub fare and some live music.

ride 5 muddy pose

Saturday morning sparked the beginning of the OFATV AGM, with some board meetings and presentations by the The Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV) and the Ministry of Transportation’s presentation on updates to Regulation 316/03 to include Side-by-Sides and 2-up machines.  The meetings were hosted in the Holiday Inn Express (in the same parking lot as the Travelodge). The Holiday Inn dazzled us with a fantastic roast chicken luncheon, leading into an afternoon of all the OFATV clubs of the province discussing pressing issues and talking of the future of the sport in the province.

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The meetings broke for the day, and we headed down to the waterfront to jump aboard a ship for a two-and-a-half-hour dinner and cruise with the Gananoque Boat Line. The roast beef dinner and beautiful cruise of the thousand islands is something not to pass up; we toured around all the sites the islands have to offer, including the tour around Boldt Castle!

cruise 2 castle
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The evening concluded back at Cousins on King for a live band and refreshments, before the weary ATVers retreated back to the hotel deck for more mingling and sharing of ideas and dreams.

Sunday rolled into more OFATV AGM business before ATVers of the province parted ways to head back to their corner of the province.  Everyone was in agreement that they would have to find the time to make it back to our gracious host’s trails once again, to see the rest of the trails we didn’t get a chance to see this time around!  Looking forward to our next trip to Gananoque.

ride 2 big smiles
 

About Dave Baker

An avid outdoors enthusiast, Dave is active in hunting, fishing, trapping and ATVing. He has been involved with the Nation Valley ATV Club since its inception, and is a past president of the Ontario Federations of ATV Clubs.

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