Updated: We Need Your Help to Save the Minden Hydro Line Trail (aka Scotch Line)

Update: QEII Park, Minden Information Meeting, March 13 2019

As of right now the Minden Hydro Line Trail/Scotch Line Trail is closed to recreational motorized traffic west of the Anson South/Outhouse junction for the 2019 season.

Last night’s information session in Minden was an opportunity to ask questions and hopefully get some answers, unfortunately a majority which were left unanswered by the park superintendent and the representatives from Minden council.

We all went in there with little to no information due to lack of being provided such and lack of notice for the information session itself. I feel we did a good job along with a majority of our fellow user groups who showed a strong and united front.

This isn’t the end and we as an organization will continue to argue our case. We already have plan in play to meet with MPPs and with COHV, KATVA, HATVA on board to make formal request for changes via ministry re hydro line trail.


Watch the video recording of the meeting

Calling all ATV, 4×4 and ORM users: We Need Your Help to Save Minden Hydro Line(AKA Scotch Line) West of Anson South Outhouse

As many of you probably know, the Hydro line runs along northern edge of Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands provincial park.

As part of their Interim Management Plan for QEII park, the QEII Park superintendent has told OF4WD and other stakeholders that  “For 2019 we will be implementing timing windows from Outhouse Junction and Little Otter Lake, mechanized passage will be permitted between September 15th to March 31st.  For the upcoming season, we will continue to tolerate sustainable use of the existing trails that dip into park lands east of outhouse junction.”

This is important trail for us all and probably the most popular trail in the Minden and surrounding area.

Ontario Parks has announced, through the Highlander late last week (see below), that they are having a “Public Information and Discussion Session”.  Please consider attending the public meeting on the 13th March and let your voice be heard. It is your opportunity to show them that this area is important to us.  Our intent is not for this to be a protest, but an opportunity for our voices to be heard.

We were led to believe by previous MNRF and Ontario Parks staff that Minden Hydro line trail was likely going to remain open to motorized passage. However, given the recent updates to the Interim management plan we think it important that the Ontario Parks planning team and local area officials hear from you of the importance of this trail to the community.

Below you will find some of our thoughts and concerns.  We hope to continue dialogue with Ontario Parks, and encourage our membership to be involved.

  • This is a very popular trail with the community and a long and consistent history of recreational use spanning many decades.
  • Access via motorized means is by far the most popular and practical mode.
  • Accessibility – Removing motorized access is especially going to impact older people and the less physically able the most.
  • Restricting access like this is effectively closing the area to the local community during the important summer months.
  • The hydro line and hydro line trail lay just above the northern boundary of the park. The trail is mostly outside the park (~80% outside the park). The trail dips inside the park boundary likely due to topography. See map extract at the end of this document.
  • It would be counterproductive to consider re-routing these short sections of the trail simply to adhere to an arbitrary administrative boundary.
  • Why are Ontario Parks including a trail in their management plan when it seems there was clear intent to exclude it ?
  • The ~20% of hydro line trail that does dip into the Park occupies an almost inconsequential area of park land. The Park is over 33,500 hectares.

Ontario Parks Points and Possible Questions/Responses

  • Objective – to better adhere to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act (PPCRA) Ontario Parks are directing mechanized use to the months when these (and other) species are either absent or dormant.
    • Does PPCRA apply to lands outside of Provincial Park boundary ?
    • The original intent would seem to exclude the hydro line and the associated access corridor/trail in the plan as the park boundary is south of that.
    • With regard to SAR, it was stated that “The area maintains a relatively diverse and healthy population of “common species”. This trail has been in popular use by the community using off road type vehicles for decades. The existence of these species in healthy numbers would appear to suggest that the current vehicle use has limited impact on those species.
    • Could we look at a much less restrictive timing window ?


  • In 2019 correspondence, Ontario Parks stated they have experienced a high degree of disrespect and disregard for the sensitivity of the park with the destruction of many traditional access routes and the creation of new trails
    • The Off road vehicle clubs and Federations that have been part of the consultation are seeking further specific information.
    • The trails have largely been sustainable. They have been in existence and used by the motorized community for many decades.
    • The Off road vehicle clubs and Federations have also indicated their willingness to work with Ontario Parks on operational and maintenance concerns and will always work to promote responsible trail use.
  • Ontario Parks objectives to protect significant natural and cultural resources.
  • To  provide opportunities for ecologically sustainable outdoor recreation and encourage associated economic benefits.
    • The trails have largely been sustainable. They have been in existence and used by the motorized community for many decades.
    • The Off road vehicle clubs and Federations have a long history of trail operation and maintenance. The ORV community invest heavily each year in trail development and maintenance.
    • A further enhanced program could readily be adopted for the hydro line.

Thank you for considering helping.  As always, we are Working to Keep Public Lands Public.

Public Meeting Event Listing

3 responses to “Updated: We Need Your Help to Save the Minden Hydro Line Trail (aka Scotch Line)”

  1. Patrick Lipscombe says:

    Please help the various vehicular communities that use these trails including seasonal users: Winter & Summer, and other users such as joggers, dog walkers, cross-country skiers, hikers, etc… to preserve this trail for our use. The vehicular communities are groups of responsible users who often conduct trail maintenance & clean-up procedures to maintain this trail system.

  2. Dean Brown says:

    Dean Brown Here!
    Please keep in mind that we treasure our trails immensely! We NEVER intentionally cause damage, or leave behind a mess!! We even put in time, effort, and capital to repair and maintain these trails as a sort of Trail Steward!! The Minden Trail is precious to us all!! Cancel, or adjust the plan as required, to keep EVERY TAXPAYER in a place of inspiration for a positive result and future!! WE LOVE MINDEN!!!

    Dean Brown

  3. David Stender says:

    This trail shouldnt even be considered an option to be closed. 20+ years the MHL is well known and universal trail for all new and experienced offroad community folks.

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