By Nick Bernard
The spirit of giving came to the Station 3 Volunteer Fire Department in Gooderham shortly before Christmas on Dec. 20, in the form of Scott Crichton, president of the Haliburton Trail Riders (HTR).
Entirely volunteer run and non-profit, HTR is an off-road motorcycle club that promotes safe, family-friendly off-road motorcycling, with special attention to maintaining the trails in an environmentally responsible manner.
Crichton presented a $5,000 donation to the fire department’s bottle drive, which has been raising money to fund a replacement off-road side-by-side vehicle for better access to trails in the event of an emergency. The station has been running a bottle drive, with funds going directly to the Highlands East Station 3 Firefighter’s Association.
Chris Baughman is the fire chief for Highlands East, which Gooderham’s Station 3 is part of. He oversees approximately 50 volunteer personnel across the five stations, including Gooderham.
“It’s quite a significant donation, and it’s always appreciated,” Baughman said. He said the donation will allow the station to spend that money on whatever training and equipment upgrades or replacements it needs, including the side-by-side they’re hoping to acquire.
“We do have a scheduled replacement for a side-by-side unit for off-road recovery and medical calls on the trails,” he said. “It’s to upgrade that so they can attach a stretcher, and just to make the rescues more convenient and … probably more comfortable for the client.”
He said that while such rescues weren’t common, they did still happen.
“They are difficult,” he said. “We do several of them a year, not just in Gooderham.”The department has two side-by-side units already in other parts of the municipality – one in the Paudash Lake area, and the other in Highland Grove. Baughman says the third would help fill the gap in the Gooderham area.
The HTR has been active since 2008, and has made several contributions to communities around Highlands East.
Crichton explained the club’s rationale for the contribution.
“When riding trails, safety is paramount, not only to HTR members, but to all trail user groups,” Crichton said in his speech to the volunteers of Station 3 who were in attendance. “When incidents do occur, we want to ensure our first responders have the tools and equipment they need to perform their job safely, efficiently, and successfully. HTR are pleased to make a donation that ensures this happens.”
You can follow the Haliburton Trail Riders on Facebook, or by visiting their website at haliburtontrailriders.ca.
The Haliburton East Station 3 bottle drive remains ongoing. Anyone interested in making a donation can do so directly at the drop box in front of the station.