ORA announces ATV trail study

From staff reports

The Oil Region Alliance is looking into the possibility of an ATV/OHV trail.

According to an ORA news release, the first step is to determine whether there is public interest. Public meetings, possibly held virtually, and surveys will be used to gauge interest of local residents, businesses and partner organizations.

The initial phase of the study also would research the potential impact such a trail could have on the region, the release said. Mapping also would be conducted to determine potential locations.

If there is enough support, the release said, a second phase would be conducted to determine where the trail would be located and if it would connect to other ATV trails in the area.

ORA President and CEO John Phillips said there is an economic impact to opening the area to off-road vehicles and enthusiasts.

He said those who travel to ride have expendable income that would benefit the region and its hospitality industry, and partnering to plan for public ATV trails also is an environmentally friendly solution.

Kim Harris, the ORA’s outdoor recreation project manager, called them “sustainable trails, which are designed to minimize erosion and protect waterways.”

The availability of properly marked and maintained public ATV trails cut down on or eliminate the trespassing that occurs when riders use trails on private land, the release said. It also discourages ATV riders from using, and often damaging, trails meant for other sports such as mountain biking and cross country skiing.

Anyone interested in participating in the public forums is asked to follow the ORA on Facebook and provide contact information to Harris at Kharris@oilregion.org.

The first two phases will be complete by June 2021, the release said.