2018 Spring Newsletter Summary
As you are all no doubt aware we have implemented some changes in the membership renewal process this year. The change of the membership year aside, the biggest process change applies to clubs and club members. Please see the article below. We are interested in hearing your feedback.
We have a slate of trail maintenance projects in mind for 2018. The projects are nearly all joint venture, involving other organizations. Some of the imminent projects are mentioned in the newsletter below. Working collaboratively with other orgs is absolutely the way to go. It allows for cost sharing, provides a greater available pool of potential volunteer help, promotes the concept of multi-use and facilitates a positive dialogue between user groups.
I would like to challenge our clubs to have one good news story for 2018 that we can share. This can range from trail clean up activity, participation in an OF4WD trail maintenance activity, community project or charity work through to assist in securing a private land agreement to expand our 4×4 trail network. If even half our clubs managed this we would consider it a huge success.
The AGM will be held on Sunday March 25th 12:30PM-4:00PM
Don Beer Arena meeting room
940 Dillingham Road
Pickering, ON L1W 1Z6
The AGM is open only to OF4WD members in good standing. Members are encouraged to renew/join on line (www.of4wd.com).
Please ensure your membership is renewed prior to AGM
Individual = $50
We will be at the location from 10:30am. From 10:30 – noon you can pick up your membership packages.
Please come along and hear the latest update on our advocacy projects and other work.
Processing memberships has been an ongoing and varying level problem for the OF4WD in recent years, particularly with club memberships. Presented with these challenges there was much debate over how best to address them. The final decision of the board was to proceed with increased automation and requirement for each member to be responsible for their renewal request.
2018 is starting off on a very positive note thanks to Mark Sims and the members of Central Ontario Off Road Jeep Club (COORJC) volunteering to adopt the Gooderham trail. We thank you very much for your offer of help and look forward to working with you in 2018.
If any other club is interested in the Adopt-a-trail program please see our website – https://www.of4wd.com/trails/adopt-a-trail/
T37 Goat Trail
There have been two phases of work so far, carried out and funded by; HATVA, OFSC/HCSA (Haliburton County Snowmobile Association), OF4WD and Municipality of Highlands East. Significant additional funding has also been provided by NTC (National Trails Coalition) grant and OFSC directed grant.
Annual five points trail maintenance meeting
Every year for last few years we have met in the early spring with a number of the other trail organizations who use and maintain trails in the area bounded by Bobcaygeon at the south west tip and Gooderham at the north eastern tip. This is a heavily used area by snowmobiles in winter, ATV, 4×4 and off road motorcycles in the summer.
The purpose of the meeting is to share notes on trail conditions and collaborate on plans for trails maintenance projects.
VMUTS (Voyageur Multi Use Trail System)
This trail system is located in Mattawa Ontario. They are currently undergoing some re-structuring. We have met with the new team and currently working on a partner plan to assist in the management and promotion of the 4×4 trail system there.
The OF4WD trail index will be amended accordingly as that work rolls out. Of course, we will keep you informed of progress and news as we work through this with the VMUTS team, partners and some of our member clubs.
The system can be run now and some of our members and clubs have done so. Please see link to the VMUTS website http://www.vmuts.com/4wd.html.
OF4WD Advocacy work
Ontario Trails Strategy – Trails Classification Standard
The Ontario Trails Strategy is as an Ontario government initiative that first saw the light of day with stakeholder consultations in 2005. I have covered the Ontario Trails Strategy updates in past newsletters and AGMs. One of the notable outcomes from this work was legislation changes introduced in 2016. A brief summary of Bill 100 can be found on our website – https://www.of4wd.com/trails-act-bill-100-part-ontario-trail-strategy/
More recent work has included Ontario Trails of Distinction initiative and the development of an Ontario Trails Classification Standard.
Ontario Parks QEII park and Minden Scotch line/power line trail
In 2016 the planning work resumed, now operating under revised Park planning act.
Highlands East Trails committee
Background – This is an official committee of council for the Municipality of Highlands East. I have a seat on this committee and continue to attend monthly meetings in Wilberforce. The initial primary interest for us was the Greens Mountain Trail Management project. Due to issues that arose from mining claim activity the Greens Mountain project has essentially been put on indefinite hold.
The main 4×4 related work for this year has been on revisiting the T3.7 trail and looking at adding new official routes for multi use trails. Please see article below on T3.7 to get the latest news.
Being a trail partner with Highlands East is very important for us and provides us with a great opportunity to work with important local stakeholders and trail groups.
Other committee work
Off Road Vehicle Initiative … Bancroft Minden Forest Mgt planning …
Ontario Power Sports Working Group (OPSWG)
Latest news: As the Ontario Government have not at this time indicated their intent to proceed further with the OPSWG report funding recommendations, the group members continue to remain very active and are working on a revised communication and strategy.
Behind the scenes we have upgraded the web site calendar and are posting events as we learn about them.
In 2017 we rolled out an all new trail index to help members find where to ride and best known conditions. Throughout the year we made numerous small and often unseen updates to improve trail index functionality and information.
The big change in fall of 2017 meant that winter-accessible trails can now be easily identified during the off-season by the snowflake marker. These are tagged on the Search page for quick and easy reference.
For 2018 we are working to help our trail investigation teams and on a few surprise features for everyone’s benefit. OF4WD is a volunteer operation so we are working to roll these out while supporting all the other seasonal activities. Watch the trail index page for updates.
The information on the trail map is only as good as our data sources. Please take a few minutes after you ride a trail and submit a trail report on current conditions (even if they are great!) and to report anything that needs attention from OF4WD or other trail user groups. You are the eyes on the ground and a few volunteers cannot possibly cover the entire trail system all by themselves. We read the trail reports and update the trail information as often as we can.
We are on the hunt for points of interest to share with everyone on the map. Please take a few minutes to share your camp sites and look-outs. You can do so right now by including GPS coordinates and completing a trail report or sending an email to email@example.com. Knowledge of staging areas, fuel stops, obstacles, danger areas make everyone’s trail experience a bit better. If you send it and we don’t have a marker for it, we will create one!
OF4WD work – a new board member perspective
As I started working on getting ready for this years AGM (finding a facility, checking AV and food requirements, etc) I started thinking that it might be a good time to reflect on what I have learned and seen this year, as it was my first year on the Board of Directors for OF4WD.
The idea of my joining the board started at the OF4WD wing night in Oakville. Chris Miles was looking for volunteers to help at the Toronto Sportsman Show, and I decided to help. Over a couple of days of talking to the public about OF4WD, and many chats with Chris during slow times, I decided to take the next step and run for the BOD.
Call for Volunteers!
The OF4WD is a volunteer-based organization working to represent the interests of the 4×4 community and to ensure the long term sustainability of 4 wheel drive recreation in the province of Ontario.
Each year at the Annual General Meeting we aim to elect 5 members to the board of directors. Each director serves a term for 2 years. After the AGM the directors meet to determine who takes on which roles. Often duties are shared or exchanged based on interest and skill set. The structure is intended to serve the goals of the organization but needs to be flexible enough to accommodate new challenges and changing conditions. Directors should expect to dedicate 2-3 days of effort per month to helping the organization, although time commitments vary widely depending on the task at hand and the season of the year.
Recently refreshed, this document is intended provide a framework for anyone interested in formally helping OF4WD: OF4WD Director and Executive Jobs
Our capacity to undertake projects to contribute to the community is constrained by the quantity and quality of our volunteers.
To volunteer with OF4WD a person need not wait for the Annual General Meeting or stand up to be a director. So much good work has been done by volunteers that only have time to work on small projects or volunteer a few hours of their time. Managing projects, decking bridges, meeting with other trail user groups, helping out at CampNL, road clean-ups, adopt-a-trail, selling swag, trail maintenance, investigating new trails and staffing the OF4WD Road Show all need volunteers that can help for a few days or a few hours.