This is to clarify some ongoing discussion regarding the 5 Points trail system….

At no time has anyone including the volunteers at KATVA ever said that the 5 points does not have a lot of crown land, in fact the majority of the 30,000 acres of bush is crown land, but there are also numerous parcels of private land in the 5 points. Some of these parcels have been owned by generations of the same families and many others have been bought and sold over the last 5 years, ours included.

As recently as a couple of months ago we signed a new land use agreement for a section of private land on a main trail that has always been assumed to be crown land and the landowners have requested that we install private property signs and enforce trail permits on their behalf. Those signs will start going up in the next couple of weeks. What some riders don’t realize or understand is that whether a trail is private property, municipal land or crown land KATVA is still required to pay to insure and maintain the trail. Riders also want clear concise signage and mapping of the trails and to be able to put a trail on a map the club is required to insure and steward the trail. It all comes down to liability for the landowner (including the Crown) and the club. Even if a 2 km trail only crosses private land for 30 feet we still have to insure the entire trail.

While we’re on the subject of insurance, just so you understand every ATV, snowmobile and dirt bike club in Ontario pays a set fee per km of trail in their trail inventory and per member of their club. If they don’t disclose their full inventory of trails then they are putting their organization at risk if there is a liability claim against them at some point. These insurance costs added up to over $20,000 for KATVA this year in addition to our costs to insure and maintain the equipment we use to maintain the trails. Remember, if you want to see a trail on a map/app then we have to pay to insure that trail!

We also have a hardworking crew of volunteers who are out there working every week on clearing trails and looking for hazards to keep the trails safe. We intentionally leave some trails as expert trails and only clear fallen trees to allow the more advanced technical riders to enjoy the challenges but we also have riders who prefer an easier ride so we make sure we have something to offer them. This work costs money. Every year we replace culverts, fix washouts, grade trails, move rock, all to the benefit of the riders and as a part of our partnership agreements with the snowmobile clubs and landowners.

So for those of you who want to go on about how crown land is free, think again. While you may not feel you should have to buy a permit to use those trails, if you don’t then you are enjoying the trails on the backs of the riders who contribute to the trails by buying a trail permit and the volunteers who still go out and work on the trails so that you can enjoy them!