Why the Johnstown ATV Club is a cornerstone for the ATV community in Eastern Ontario

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Jul 2, 2024

An Interview with Johnstown ATV Club President, Pat Marceau

We sat down with Pat Marceau, President of the Johnstown ATV Club, to learn more about the club’s journey, its unique trail system, community involvement, and future projects.

Q: Can you share the story behind the Johnstown ATV Club and how you got involved?

Pat Marceau: The Johnstown ATV Club has a rich history, having been around for many years and officially incorporated in March 2003. The club joined the OFATV in 2008, and my journey with them began in the summer of 2012. I started by helping with trail maintenance and was elected as the Trail Maintenance Director later that year. At that time, the club had only 29 members. I became President in September 2015, and since then, we’ve grown to 560 members. Our significant growth started when we collaborated with local townships to get roads approved, connecting our network of trails. Today, we maintain around 320 km of trails across various townships, and we’re continually expanding.

Q: What sets your trail network apart?

Pat Marceau: Our trail system is diverse and expansive, stretching from Johnstown to Merrickville, including areas like North Augusta. We boast around 300 km of trails that cater to both die-hard and casual riders. A unique feature is our purpose-built tunnel under Highway 416, which connects trails on both sides of the highway. Our trails are open year-round, except during the spring thaw and the deer rifle hunting season in November.

The terrain varies greatly, with sand dunes, rock pits, small lakes, big ponds, mud bogs, hills, valleys, hardwood forests, and tunnels. We’re working on making these trails accessible to riders of all levels by constructing bypasses around challenging sections and placing directional signs for dry and wet trails.

Q: In what ways does the Johnstown ATV Club interact with the local community and promote ATV safety and awareness?

Pat Marceau: We’re a community-oriented group that enjoys riding ATVs and ORVs in the Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Merrickville-Wolford, and Augusta township areas. Our members participate in township clean-up events, Limerick Forest projects, and various local parades. We host four community rides annually, including a charity fundraising ride that supports local causes such as Connect Youth Inc., Beacon Bags, and the South Edwardsburg Public School breakfast program.

Our goals include providing safe and legal access to trails, supporting and enhancing trails in cooperation with local authorities, promoting respect for shared trails and the environment, and contributing to the local economy. We also have a Trail Wardening program and collaborate with the OPP’s Snowmobile ATV Vessel Enforcement (S.A.V.E) Team to promote ATV safety and regulation awareness. 

Q: Could you describe a standout moment or significant achievement during your time with the Johnstown ATV Club?

Pat Marceau: A significant milestone was in 2015 when we started working with local municipalities to authorize the use of ATVs on roads to connect more trails, thus expanding our network. This allowed us to host organized rides to fundraise for trail maintenance and development, marking a major turning point for the club.

Q: What upcoming projects or initiatives is the Johnstown ATV Club looking forward to, and how can members and the community get involved?

Pat Marceau: We have several trail repair projects lined up, funded by grants received earlier this year. Our organized ride events include the Embrace the Winter ride in February, the Summer Poker Ride in June, the Volunteer Appreciation Ride and BBQ in August, and the Ladies Only Ride in August. We also have a Charity Ride in October and recently introduced members-only twilight rides in late fall and early spring.

Despite our busy lives, many members actively participate in stewardship, trail maintenance, and event planning. Volunteers form our executive board and committees, playing a crucial role in directing trail projects, funding, and special events.

Pat Marceau’s dedication to the Johnstown ATV Club shines through in his efforts to expand the trail network and engage with the community. The club’s growth and achievements reflect the passion and commitment of its members, making it a cornerstone of the ATV community in Eastern Ontario. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a novice, the Johnstown ATV Club welcomes you to explore their trails and join their vibrant community.

Visit their website at johnstownatvclub.org