Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
Story and photos by Curtis Snyder
‘All Terrain Vehicle’, ‘Side-by-Side’, ‘4-Wheeler’, ‘Buggy’, and
‘Off Highway Vehicle’, are just a few of the many names for motorized, four-wheeled machines that growing numbers of Lunenburg County residents enjoy riding in all four seasons. Who has them, where they go (and can’t), and why they ride them are what this article is all about.
Julie Harvey and Cindy Murphy live in Halifax but have a cottage and a side-by-side in Chelsea. Getting away from the city on weekends and on vacations is a priority. A side-by-side (OHV) was a natural addition to their “Happy Place” on the lake. As they ease their way toward the end of their careers, (they plan to retire and live in Lunenburg County permanently) exploring more of the natural world has become an important quality of life goal for the two of them. They use their OHV for work and play.
Weekends might see them cutting and moving firewood from one end of the property to the other, followed by an evening ride around their lake looking for deer, listening for owls and finding just the right spot to watch a sunset. Julie says the OHV is, “a great way to meet new people and the neighbours”. They find there is a real sense of camaraderie with OHVers. Julie and Cindy chip in to help with road maintenance and the side-by-side is an indispensable machine. At the time of writing there were a number of forest fires in the region and Cindy pointed out, “How valuable the trails were for the firefighters to gain access to the woods”.
The two of them are members of ATVANS (All Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia). Part of the association’s annual dues goes to support the creation and maintenance of new and existing trails. Both Cindy and Julie would love to see an enlargement of the existing Nova Scotia trail network, as other Maritime provinces have done in the past few years.
John Haughn at Honda Powerhouse in Bridgewater has seen
a dramatic increase in OHV purchases. John says sales, ‘went nuts in the pandemic’. Honda quickly sold out of all of their 2020 stock by the end of May and over all they have seen a 200 to 300% increase in buyers. John says the typical buyer is in one of three categories. “There is the younger guy looking to go
‘muddin’, the worker looking to use the machine for hauling dirt and/or logs, and the ‘family guy’”. With travel restricted both to Atlantic Canada and out of the country, John sees many who are using a side-by-side as the “new family staycation”. OHV’s are not just on four wheels but used in all four seasons.
Chad, Stacey, Jacob and Josh Crouse are a tight knit family who have three four-wheelers and a multitude of trailers. They use them to hunt (deer, bear and rabbit) and fish (trout and bass), haul wood, maintain trails for local landowners, plow the driveway and to travel the trails near and far from their home. Chad says, ‘the four wheeler is my tractor’. He has over 35 years of OHV experience and has taught his two sons how to use them safely and properly.
His oldest son Jacob has been on some ‘runs’ of more than
a hundred kilometres. He “prefers the mud”, but the whole family agrees that the fall season is the best time of year to ‘go wheeling’. Stacey (Mom) feels “relaxed by the autumn breezes” and enjoys the foliage.
The future of ATV’ing is indeed bright. The gold standard for these workers of the land, families, and young riders is to have a connected network of trails that offer fuel, food, and accommodations. They see this growing hobby as having a tremendous economic impact.
They believe the possibilities are endless as the industry and hobby continue to grow.
Most OHV riders are willing to help clear and maintain existing and new trails. The vast majority of these riders are respectful of existing laws and policies, drive safely, respect the lands and trails, and pay their annual registration and insurance fees. These men, women, and families are all looking for the opportunity to work and explore the trails and forests of Lunenburg County and beyond, with a love of nature in their hearts and the wind in their faces.
For any additional information re: OHV rules and regulations, training, trails, etc. Visit: https://novascotia.ca/natr/ohv/