Sharing the trail

The 275 kilometre Confederation Trail, which snakes its way from one tip of the Island to the other, is a marvelous resource for tourists and Islanders alike.

The only problem is that too many users who surround themselves with metal and chrome seem to believe it is there for their own personal use and to heck with everyone else. 

Try to enjoy Mother Nature in all its splendour and more often than not you will get a whiff of gasoline fumes for your trouble.

Everyone who ventures onto the trail knows what it’s like during the spring and summer, and for that matter until the snow flies. A pastoral outing is often ruined when the air is filled with the roar of revved up dirt-bikes and ATVs. 

A significant minority of operators demonstrate a sense of entitlement that is quite astonishing to behold. They are breaking the law, of course, but it’s almost as if they believe they own the trail and we, poor souls on sneakers and bikes, are the trespassers.

On more times than I would care to count, I would hear the roar of approaching ATVs and dirt bikes behind me, and then, to my amazement I would see a procession of vehicles travel by one after another. At those times I wonder if I am actually on the Confederation Trail, or Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway.

In the winter, of course, it’s a different story. Snowmobilers who are paid members of the PEI Snowmobile Association get to actually claim ownership from Dec 1 to March 31. They do, after all, lease the trail and pay to have it groomed just right and they even provide wardens who can issue tickets for various infractions.

I’ve never had a bad experience with snowmobile owners on the trail - who have been, for the most part, courteous to those of us who rely on skis or boots to get around.

Still it would be nice to have the trail to ourselves, for just a short period of time - with no gasoline fumes, no roar of revving engines, just the cool, crisp air surrounding us.

All we can hope for is a prolonged spate of mild weather that extends deep into the winter.

Unfortunately, illegal dirt bike operators and ATV owners are likely also hoping for the same thing.

 

Jim Brown

 

Anonymous on Mon, 05/06/2013 - 18:34

Here's the bottom line. We dirt bike and atv owners are going to use the trail whether it's legal or not. The only way to side step the conflict is to make it legal. When your not allowed to use the side of the road and 90% of the island is owned by idiotic farmers who make a big stink if they see anyone driving an off road vehicle in their fields before they're planted or after they've been harvested (I would understand if someone was driving through their crops)then we're going to the next most convenient way which happens to be the rails for trails.

Anonymous on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 12:10

I'll assume you have a lawn, mind if I rip across it with my van? The farmers work hard to keep what they have, why should you be able to destroy it? I'll also assume you understood when you bought an ATV that we have laws on PEI, including trespass laws.

Anonymous on Mon, 05/06/2013 - 18:31

Here's the bottom line. We dirt bike and atv owners are going to use the trail whether it's legal or not. The only way to side step the conflict is to make it legal. When your not allowed to use the side of the road and 90% of the island is owned by idiotic farmers who make a big stink if they see anyone driving an off road vehicle in their fields before they're planted or after they've been harvested (I would understand if someone was driving through their crops)then we're going to the next most convenient way which happens to be the rails for trails.

Anonymous on Wed, 01/18/2012 - 23:18

jim as you keep showing your dislike to atv's did you not say The 275 kilometre Confederation Trail, Island to the other, is a marvelous resource for tourists and Islanders alike. well i am an islander i pay tax's an my money is part of the millions spent on its up keeping id be willing to pay for a pass for a year to use the trails . also you said I’ve never had a bad experience with snowmobile owners on the trail - who have been, for the most part, courteous to those of us who rely on skis or boots to get around when you just said the PEI Snowmobile Association get to actually claim ownership from Dec 1 to March 31. so realy your breaking the law yourself . not to put words in your mouth but i think your full of shit an just wanna complain.
i paid my taxes when i bought my atv an i then had to regeister it an plate it so far i have not broke any rules now when i want to drive it the second i pull out my driveway im black listed as a law breaker an rebel ,i work everyday to put food on the table for my kids an when i want to take time to myself i should be able to jump on my bike an go for nice relaxing drive to enjoy the sites of nature but the poor souls on sneakers and bikes wont let me enjoy the view as they want it for their own personal use and to heck with everyone else.
i think our goverment is missing out on alot you think a few walkers an a handfull of bikers is paying the bills for the trail, i dont think so were paying for it so they can use it for free its not right maybe when they pull there heads out of each others asses they will see there loosing money an see there behind times .
other provinces have multi use trails it works for them! enough with the bull we are people to we have our rights as well let our voices be herd im an atv'er i am a member of the western atv club an damb proud of it

Anonymous on Sat, 01/21/2012 - 17:42
Title: Well said!!

Very well said!!! :)

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 11:11

Firstly,Jim do you pay to be on the trail?if the were to make you pay to walk on it would you pay?i am an avid atver and if a trail pass was available i would be first in line for one.Secondly,not all atv riders are inconsiderate asses,but granted there are a few.I myself am not one of them and i know plenty more riders who are not,myself if i am on the trail and i meet walkers i pull off to the side and slow down,to thiss point i have never seen an angry walker ,they smile and wave because i am respectful,and as far as this time of year Jim you have no more right to be on the trail than i do,maybe the snowmobile association should hand you a ticket for illegally walking on their trail.would that make you happy??

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 11:10

Firstly,Jim do you pay to be on the trail?if the were to make you pay to walk on it would you pay?i am an avid atver and if a trail pass was available i would be first in line for one.Secondly,not all atv riders are inconsiderate asses,but granted there are a few.I myself am not one of them and i know plenty more riders who are not,myself if i am on the trail and i meet walkers i pull off to the side and slow down,to thiss point i have never seen an angry walker ,they smile and wave because i am respectful,and as far as this time of year Jim you have no more right to be on the trail than i do,maybe the snowmobile association should hand you a ticket for illegally walking on their trail.would that make you happy??

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 10:33
Title: Quiller

vote Jamie Mcwilliams (Quillar) for your next premier and HE WILL make sure atv's are aloud on the confederation trail.... Nancy

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 01:58

Is this guy for real, I don't even own an atv and I think this guy is laying it on pretty thick. My guess is that most of the trail outside urban centers goes highly unused in summer because of how remote some of the trail system is for people to reach by foot. And fact of the matter is, a lot of other provinces have a shared trail system and the trails are used as a source of tourism revenue and are more widely used by atver's and snowmobilers than bikers & hikers. Not saying that everyone's enjoyment isn't important, but is it really that big a deal that a few passing atv's make a little noise and gas fumes, is it really any different than following a truck on the highway or sitting at a traffic light, we all inhale fumes daily and think nothing of it. I mean it's certainly no different than a snowmobile passing a skier, or a boat passing a kayak. Everyone has the right to have fun and I think that the trail should be able to be enjoyed by everyone no matter what the mode of transportation. The biggest problem today is the trail goes mostly unpoliced during summer, but if it were open to all "paying traffic" then wardens could monitor activity on the trail. But if untouched nature is what you want, I'd say our Island is probably too densely populated for you my friend, Here, we all have to respect each other and share what little space we have.

Anonymous on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 12:15

One should never guess, get out and see for yourself, I biked 50k today starting at 7:30 a.m in the "rural" areas and met some wonderful people using all parts of the trail....walkers and bikers both

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 22:48
Title: Well said

Well said

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 22:43

Well said. Some kids just don't want to share their toys. :)

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 00:56
Title: On the trail

It's funny Jim how you make comment about it being illegal for ATVs to be on the trail, yet you're on that same trail in winter skiing or snowshoeing just as illegal as these ATVs are. Kinda makes you a bit of a hypocrite doesn't it? I am a vivid ATVer and used to be a vivid snowmobiler and ex trail warden. We are in early stages of organizing and are working on trails, which costs alot of money. Can you tell me why we have a world class trail here on PEI that is free to walkers, hikers, and bikers from all across the world but not to the everyday islander who pays taxes. It costs about $2 million dollars annually to maintain that trail. How is that fair to me who will never be on it unless they open it to ATVs? This should be a multi use trail for walkers, hikers, bikers, horseback riders, dirtbikes, ATVs, and snowmobiles, and it should be a user pay trail so that the ones that are using it are paying for it. People like you don't think it would work because you're going by the ATVs that are on there now illegally. We can't afford 3 different trails on this Island. I am Donald Buchanan, presindent of the Western ATV Club

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 11:02

well said Donald

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 10:51

well said Donald

Anonymous on Wed, 01/18/2012 - 22:33
Title: I AGREE

You are right Donald.. Maybe people shouldnt be allowed to walk on the side of the road.. with all the cars and trucks.. fumes etc!! I dont agree with that but what IF!!!

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 00:15
Title: ATVs

I do believe that some people just do not have the right to operate any type of machine no matter what they are driving it on! I also think that ATV owners should be able to use the confederation trails and also have to pay for a trail pass! If they abuse it and lose their rights to ride on the trails then tough luck!That goes for people operating sleds as well! We own an ATV and we also enjoy going for rides, but theres nothing legal to do with an ATV around here, like we do have full insurance and registration!

Anonymous on Sun, 01/15/2012 - 23:45
Title: trails

not every atver uncourteous as you think they are, half the snowmobilers travel the trails year round as they have atvs as well and your going to have your share of bad apples on the sleds as on the bikes, that is what the trail wardens are for....if everyone would just stop being so hard headed and let atvers pay the trail fee and and have wardens then things can be alot better than they are now, but hey i can go on for a long time its still not gunna matter people are still going to talk down atvs,but dont get me wrong i admit there are alot of idiots that dont give a dam and are giving all us atvers a bad name

Anonymous on Sun, 01/15/2012 - 22:55

you may have never had any problems with snowmobiles but 95% of the people that own snowmobiles also have snowmobiles and most walkers have the same problems with both types of machines. atvs should be aloud to be on the trails and follow the same regulations as snowmobilers but only have access in the summer, spring and fall.

Anonymous on Sun, 01/15/2012 - 23:34
Title: trails

i agree 100%

Anonymous on Wed, 01/11/2012 - 21:32

Just curious. Are pedestrians allowed on the trail from dec 1 to march 31 . Unlike you, my husband and I did have a bad experience with snowmobiles on Dec 24 of this year. There was no indication of snowmobiles out (no tracks) so we decided to go for a nice christmas eve walk at around 4 oclock. We encountered two snowmobiles along a wide visable stretch. They had plenty of time to see us. We had three large dogs all on leashes. As they approached they actually sped up their machines and we barely had time to get off the side and we were blinded by snow coming up around us.
then they had so much fun that they proceeded to turn around and come back and do the same thing. I was terrified. I was just glad that we had an area on the side of the trail that we could go to get out of the way without a drop off.

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 11:18

You are not allowed on the trail.

Anonymous on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 02:22

I know that some riders can be rude, "they are not the majority" and there is no excuse for what happened to you and your husband. But, as far as I'm aware, you were the trespassers that day, on a trail that was leased by the snowmobile association for snowmobiles only. I mean it's nice to share the trail year round, and most snowmobilers don't mind having skiers and walkers on the trail, but fact is, those snowmobilers who were so rude, had probably actually paid in part for the trail to be groomed well enough for you to walk on, still no excuse for what they did, but if not for the paying members the trail would have 5ft of snow over it for nearly half the year. Just Please don't give all riders the same stigma, most of us don't mind sharing with you and we'll even pay the bill. Hope it doesn't happen to you again.

Anonymous on Mon, 02/11/2013 - 12:35

As to the article i am an avid atver of nova scotia where the rules are a little over the top but we can still drive on the trans canada trail. i recently come from NFLD where YOU are allowed to drive on the trans canada trail through all the towns and stay at all the hotels. i hope that some day atv's can drive in pei. i would love to go across the island on atv. hope ya get it straightened out

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