After: Barry Lord left and Bob Johnson drive over the largest of two bridges just completed by HATVA in Highlands East on Trail 37 leading from Gooderham towards Haliburton Village. Lord was the foreman on the job. Photo submitted

HATVA improves Haliburton trails

Haliburton ATV Association has been busy working on a major project for the last two years one that benefits all Haliburton County power sports organizations and trail riders. They undertook the building of two steel bridges in Highlands East.

An application was made to the National Trails Council for a grant to help defray the cost of building the two  bridges on HATVA Trail 37 (HCSA trail 9) going from Gooderham towards Haliburton Village. The existing bridges were in dangerous condition.

The actual cost of the bridges was almost $80000 with the National Trails Council providing a grant of $33894 Highlands East donating $7500 the Ontario Federation of Four Wheel Drive Vehicles stepping up to offer $5000 and HCSA giving $3500. HATVA absorbed the remaining costs with a donation of $28000 and took responsibility for the project.

The last part of the project the actual building of the two bridges was a collaborative effort between HATVA and the Ontario Four Wheel Drive Association. Hawk Lake Construction was hired to put the foundation and steel base in place and the volunteers decked the structures and added the railings.

The job overseen by the trails manager of HATVA Barry Lord took a month to complete. Lord is “volunteer of the year” for dedicating so much time and effort to the job as well as for overseeing the work of so many other “bosses” who came out to help. His assistant Bob Johnson was dubbed “muddiest volunteer of the year.”

The bridges were 40 feet and 60 feet long with a width of 12 feet to allow for groomers to pass through.
Not all power sports groups need that much room but when working on shared trails HATVA’s philosophy is that accommodation must be made for everyone.

This project was the result of two years’ work applying for grants meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources and obtaining permits finding an engineer who would tromp into the bush and produce specifications and blueprints getting the steel bridges manufactured and delivered getting the lumber from Haliburton Forest and local building stores getting a local contractor to haul the bridges and lumber into the sites and set the bridges on the foundation. In addition co-ordinating work crews made up of volunteers was not always easy.

HATVA is grateful for the support of the Haliburton County Development Corporation for contributing to the purchase of a trailer used to haul equipment and supplies into and out of the site each day.

One bridge had fairly easy access and was about 750 yards from the road. However the larger bridge had a more difficult access and was a mile and a half into the bush over pretty rough terrain. HATVA is also grateful to the occupants of a nearby hunt camp for allowing the workers to stage from their parking lot.

Submitted by Pauline Johnson