Off-road vehicles remain off the Rail Trail
By Chad Ingram
Published June 28, 2016
Off-road vehicles will remain banned from the Haliburton County Rail Trail, at least for the foreseeable future.
Last year, the Haliburton County ATV Association requested that off-road vehicles (ORVs) be allowed on the corridor, where ATVs are permitted May through November.
ORVs are prohibited on the multi-use trail and at a June 22 county council meeting, councillors voted to maintain the status quo.
ORVs, also referred to as side-by-sides, are often two-seat vehicles comparable in design to golf carts.
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin said an easy way to distinguish between the two is that while people ride “on” ATVs, they ride “in” ORVs.
Roads director Craig Douglas said another indicator was whether a vehicle has handlebars (ATV) or a steering wheel.
It was Douglas’s recommendation that ORVs continue to be prohibited on the Rail Trail. He said some ORVs are wider than compact cars.
“ORVs can be wider than our little cars,” Douglas said. “I’m just envisioning two cars on the trail.”
A report from Douglas noted that if the trail was opened to ORVs, it would require additional brushing, as well as widening of the corridor. It also stated that the City of Kawartha Lakes does not permit ORVs on its section of the trail.
The Haliburton County Rail Trail, a former railway bed, runs 34 kilometres from Haliburton Village to Kinmount, where it becomes the Kawartha Lakes Victoria Rail Trail.
Douglas’s report also noted insurance concerns and a public input process that took place in 2012 and recommended existing uses be frozen.
A number of councillors said they were relieved to see Douglas’s recommendation. Dysart et al Murray Fearrey said there are townships where ORVs are permitted on trails, with the vehicles subject to maximum widths.