REGIONAL – ATV enthusiasts from across the region will converge in the vicinity of Elephant and Crane lakes on Saturday, April 24, for the annual Voyageur Country ATV Club spring fundraising …
REGIONAL – ATV enthusiasts from across the region will converge in the vicinity of Elephant and Crane lakes on Saturday, April 24, for the annual Voyageur Country ATV Club spring fundraising ride.
The event won’t be an organized ride where ATVers all travel together, but rather a destination where they arrive in their own little groups, utilizing the club’s trail system to get there.
“We’re going to do a picnic in a large gravel pit where we have lots of space and lots of distancing,” club spokesman Bruce Beste said. “We’re saying organize your own small rides, ride on our trails, and at some point, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., stop by the gravel pit and have a burger lunch, buy a sweatshirt or a cap from the club, and buy a raffle ticket.”
Beste said riders won’t have any problems finding their way to the pit.
“The pit is on County Road 180 near Elephant Lake,” Beste said. “We’ll put signs out on our trails directing people to the pit. They’ll know where to go.”
Club business members have donated almost all of the food and supplies for the picnic, so nearly all of the $12 lunch ticket ($10 for riders 12 and under) will support the fundraising effort, Beste said.
And it will be well worth the trail ride for the holder of the lucky $10 raffle ticket, who will win a Recteq RT-590 smoker/grill.
“It’s a model that’s a $900 grill, and plus taxes a $965 value on the thing, so it’s pretty nice,” Beste said. “We may do some other raffle items depending on the weather and the turnout.”
The picnic and raffle proceeds will help to fund the club’s operational costs and lobbying efforts to secure major funding to continue building out the trail system.
“We’ve got seven trail projects keyed up, and we just completed our environmental assessment worksheet,” Beste said. “Now we’re in the process of getting final permits and permissions so that we can put the seven projects out to bid, although not all seven at the same time. We have about $1.5 million dollars already secured, and we believe we’ll have another $1 million secured by the end of this spring. We’re already preparing an application for this fall for another half million dollars.”
Another club fundraiser that coincides with the spring run and extends beyond it is the Voyageur Country Wall of Fame.
“We’re just starting that drive,” Beste said. “We’re trying to raise $25,000 to purchase wetland credits, which is our leverage to some of these funders so we can say okay, we’re digging into our pockets, to show that we’ve actually got skin in the game.”
Any donation amount will be accepted, but donors who give $500 or more will be recognized with plaques placed on one of two boards to be erected at two signature trail features, the Vermilion Bridge and the Pelican River Overlook. In addition to information about the donor, the plaques will have space for short inscriptions that can be used as donors wish.
Past spring rides have attracted upward of 300 riders, Beste said, but he anticipates that some people with ongoing concerns about COVID-19 may choose to avoid a larger gathering this year.
“I’m speculating if the weather is nice, we could see 250 people,” he said.