New ATV rules good for north Island tourism


Communities of Sayward and Gold River now allow ATV riders in town to access services.


Many people in Vancouver will tell you there’s no better way to see and experience the island like on an ATV.
“You know people enjoy being able to get out there” said Dan Kelson who was part of a club ride from Campbell River to Gold River Saturday. “Not everybody can get out and walk somewhere so it’s nice to be able to get on your machine and be able to drive at your leisure, go camping and go have a great time.” 
However, riders were always limited to shorter trips because they couldn’t drive into towns to access services. That’s now changed in Sayward, Gold River and part of Campbell River.
“We could travel on the back roads but we weren’t allowed to come into the communities and therefore we couldn’t access the services” said Campbell River ATV Club President Mike Coulter. “We couldn’t get access to food, couldn’t get access to fuel, couldn’t get access to accommodation.”
But new bylaws in Gold River and Sayward now allow ATV’s to be driven into town. 
And an agreement has been reached to allow the rides to begin at the Willis Road Shell gas station in Campbell River. 
The mayor of Gold River Brad Unger says this will be big for tourism and the 400km circle tour between the three communities is expected to draw ATV riders and motorbike riders from the island and beyond. 
“We’re the only communities or the only area on the island and there are very few areas even in the province of BC that you can do this, this has the potential to be a huge tourism draw in the future.” added Coulter.
“The access is the main thing” said Kelson. “If you can’t go nowhere who’s going to do it? And we’ve had a lot of success, people come from all over and they’re just thrilled about the area.”
ATV’s come in all shapes and sizes these days and can run upwards of $20,000 and the owners want to be able to use them.
“There are estimated to be 650,000 ATV’s within a one day drive of British Columbia.” said Coulter.
Cindy Armstrong and her dog Jenna enjoy it too and were part of the convoy of ATV’s heading to Gold River Saturday for the Campbell River Club’s first overnight trip under the new regulations. 
“Well if I couldn’t go on my ATV I probably wouldn’t be out in the bush enjoying nature.” said Armstrong. 

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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