The Eastman ATV Association has succeeded in getting the province to agree to a pilot project for an ATV trail system similar to the snowmobile trail system. Dave Lee of Dufresne is president of the association.
"We've been working on this project for six years with all levels of government and they are looking at a pilot project right now on the trail system from #1 Highway to Woodridge. At this point it's just a pilot project."
Lee says, until now, there have been no officially designated ATV trails in the province so people could only venture out if they were with a guide or a friend who knew their way. He notes this will be a huge tourism opportunity. Lee says the pilot project will be on Crown land and will include the Eastman ATV loop which covers a distance of 67 kilometres and the Woodridge Sandhogs loop which covers 75 kilometres. And he adds everything will be clearly marked for users.
"They'll be able to go to the trailhead, there'll be a kiosk. We'll have a map of the trail on the kiosk and in the kiosk there will be maps available for them and away they go as a family. They can travel down the trail, they follow a marked and signed trail, they know if there's any hazards coming up, they know where they are, they know the distances, it will tell them of the amenities coming up, where we'll be travelling into Woodridge and what's in Woodridge. So it gives a lot of opportunity for tourism."
The pilot project will start this fall. Lee adds the trail will be open to all modes of transportation including ATV's, bicycles, horses and walkers. He is excited to finally get the go ahead for this project.
"We get all kinds of emails from people travelling with their ATV's and side-by-sides asking if there's any place they can ride in Manitoba."
Lee says, until now, he couldn't say yes because there were no trails they could use without having a guide to show them the way. That's about to change.
There are already official provincial ATV trails in the South Interlake and Portage la Prairie areas.