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ATVANS has put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help provide members and others with timely information about our organization and sport. If you have a question not asked and answered on this list feel free to summit your question and we will attempt to provide an answer as soon as possible. This list will be updated from time to time. Your question and answer may appear on the revised list.

Send questions to: execdirector@atvans.org

How do I choose a Club to join?

You can choose any club in the province regardless of where you live. Some people pick a club closest to where they live, others might have a cottage or camp and choose a club in that area. If you have friends that you regularly ride with, you might want to join the same club.

In addition, you can purchase a “Trail Permit Only” and not be associated with any club.

What if I have more than 1 machine? Do I get a discount?

We cannot offer any discounts when you pay/register online for your membership. The only way to register two bikes online is to set up two different emails, one for each membership, and the cost will be $50 per membership.

If a club would like to offer a discount to their members for a second bike they may do that. The club collects $50 for a membership and sends ATVANS $30 for each membership, retaining the remaining $20. It is entirely a club decision if they want to give up the $20 and offer members a discount for a second bike. If a club offers this discount it can only be done through the club and not through the online process.

Where can I get a map?

Maps are generally available from the clubs, however some can be purchased online through our online store on this site and we also sell a Trakmaps GPS sim card for Garmin devises.

Are ATVANS club rallies and events open to non-members?

In some cases they are and other they are not. This is a matter for clubs to decide.

What are funds raised from the ATVANS lottery used for?

The majority of the funds are retained by the clubs for club activities and projects. A small portion of the funds are retained by ATVANS to cover the cost of prizes, printing and other lottery expenses. Any surplus funds are used for promotional purposes.

Does ATVANS promote ATV racing?

No, our insurance does not cover competition events.

Do I need to be a club member to get an ATVANS trail permit?

No, as of 2019 you can purchase a non-member trail permit at a higher fee. Some funds generated by the sale of non-member fees are set aside for trail improvement projects.

How many members are there in ATVANS?

ATVANS is the third largest ATV federation in Canada with over 40 clubs across Nova Scotia and over 4500 individual members.

Can I get a trail permit for my dirt bike?

No, ATVANS is an ATV federation and only traditional ATVs and side by sides can get a trail permit. Dirt bikes and snow mobiles have separate organizations (SANS and NSORRA).

When we join a Club does ATVANS provide us with insurance?

Yes and No. ATVANS insurance covers you or the club when you are being sued, when you are volunteering at club sponsored events (e.g. you spilled hot coffee on someone), for your duties as officers and directors of the club. IT DOES NOT cover you for accidents caused by riding your ATV or SxS. Such accidents would be covered by your personal ATV/SxS insurance policy.

Does a Land Use Agreement policy cover the rider in case of an accident?

No, the policy covers the land owner against potential claims raised by a rider. These agreements allow our clubs to create and maintain trails, install bridges on properties, etc. with no risk to the land owner.

Is a Trail Permit required when a Land Use Agreement is in place?

Most trails under a land use agreement do not require a trail permit, ALTHOUGH SOME land owners do require a rider to have a trail permit to access their property. An ATVANS trail permit serves as written permission to access these properties. Riding on such a trail without a trail permit is a violation of the OHV Act and subject to a fine as prescribed by the Act.

Do I need a Trail Permit to ride in a Wilderness Protected Area?

Riding any OHV in a Wilderness Protected Area (WPA) is prohibited UNLESS there is a designated trail in place. For ATVs and SxSs an ATVANS trail permit is required to access such a designated trail. ATVANS has a signed agreement with Nova Scotia Dept of Environment to manage such a trail and ATVANS is required to pay for and provide insurance (five million dollar policy) in favour of the Province, against any claims. Without a designated trail agreement in place ATV or SxS access throughout the entire WPA is prohibited.

Is my ATVANS Permit valid in another Province?

Yes, you may ride in New Brunswick and PEI at no charge. Non-members must pay to ride in those provinces.

Do I need a safety course to ride in Nova Scotia?

Most Nova Scotia riders do need an ATV safety course, there are limited exemptions for riders who owned and operated an ATV prior to 2006. Visit the Nova Scotia Lands and Forrest website for full details.

The ATV safety course is mandatory in Nova Scotia unless you are exempt.

People who do NOT have to take a safety training course:

  • You were born before April 1, 1987, AND
  • You bought your OHV before April 1, 2006, AND
  • You registered your OHV before September 30, 2007, AND
  • You have a valid driver’s licence* AND
  • You are NOT a parent or guardian* supervising a child or youth.
  • If you are exempt, your spouse* is also exempt if they were born before April 1, 1987, AND
  • they have a valid driver’s licence*.

You lose your exception if you violate the act or lose your driver’s licence*. This means you will now need training.


FOR WORK EXEMPTIONS SEE https://novascotia.ca/natr/ohv/handbook/pdf/4riders.pdf

If you are exempt ATVANS STRONGLY RECOMMENDS that you take the ATV safety course.

How do I get an ATV safety course?

You can visit the safety section of this website for a full list of the ATVANS affiliated trainers. Courses generally start in the spring and run throughout the summer and fall, weather permitting.

Why does Dept of Lands and Forestry recognize “designated” trails and Trail Permits for snowmobiles but not for ATVs?

The SANS Trail Permits are issued in accordance with the Off-Highway Vehicle Act and its governing regulations, the designated snowmobile trails system is also under this Act which is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Lands and Forestry.

While there are no ATV trails specifically designated under the Off-Highway Vehicle Act, there are other “designated OHV trails” in the province, such as those identified through the management agreement made pursuant to the Wilderness Protection Act with Nova Scotia Environment and the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia (ATVANS), the sticker or decal (Trail Permit) issued by ATVANS is to show that the user is a member and has permission to travel on these trails.

Owners/occupiers of land have the ability to limit or restrict OHV access to their property and may give written permission to an individual or through a recognized club as per Section 14(3) of the Off-Highway Vehicle Act. The sticker or decal (Trail Permit) issued by ATVANS is to show that the user is a member of our organization and has written permission to use the trails covered under these management agreements.

I was advised that no permission is required to travel on trails because they are “established trails” under the Off-Highway Vehicle Act

Some trails are “established trails” under the OHV Act but not all are. In order to be an established trail the trail needs to meet the criteria set out in the OHV Act and governing regulations, which includes but not limited to;

o In existence before April 1, 2006, that has, through traditional use, become a trail for use by OHVs, and permission to use that route or path has not been withdrawn.

o The landowner has not erected a sign prohibiting the use of OHVs on their land.

o Riders where/are not riding through a wetland, swamp, marsh, watercourse, wilderness area, sand dune, coastal barren or other sensitive habitat.

Any new trail constructed since April 1, 2016 or any trail that has work completed to resolve illegal use (swamp hole fixed, bridge put in place) does not meet the criteria of an “established trail” and requires written permission to legally access that trail.

ATVANS and its member clubs obtain permission to legally enter the premises for the purpose of ATV trail construction, maintenance and use by our members, your ATVANS Trail Permit identifies you as a member and having permission to legally be there.

Off-Highway Vehicle Fund Questions

When I register my machine I pay a $40 trail fee, who looks after that money and where does it go?

As of April 1, 2006, pursuant to the Off-Highway Vehicles Act, all Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) users who ride recreationally off their own land have been required to pay $40 per year into the Off-Highway Vehicle Infrastructure Fund.

The Off-Highway Vehicle is a Special Purpose Fund as described by the Province’s Finance Act. Funds are collected by government from OHV users for a specific purpose. It consists of money acquired by agreement, gift, donation, bequest or contribution; income accruing to the fund; and penalties received by Her Majesty in the right of the Province pursuant to the Off-Highway Vehicles Act.

It is not part of the general operating budget of government nor attributed to the budget of a particular department or agency. The fund (and interest earned) is segregated and tracked for Financial Statement purposes and is maintained by the Department of Finance. An annual financial statement is prepared as per Treasury Board procedures.

The OHV Act stipulates that except under certain circumstances an OHV not used on the owner’s property must be registered and owners must pay into the Fund. This money is collected by Service Nova Scotia as part of the annual registration and licensing fee.

The Off-Highway Vehicle is a Special Purpose Fund in the Department of Finance’s Budgeting and Financial Management Manual (Section 23.1 Special Purpose Funds). It does not have a separate bank account, but the fund (and interest earned) is segregated for Financial Statement purposes. This fund is maintained by the Department of Finance. The Resources CSU (Corporate Services Unit) prepares the annual financial statements as per Treasury Board procedures. http://novascotia.ca/treasuryboard/manuals/PDF/200/22301-01.pdf

Funds are collected by government from OHV users for a specific purpose, in this case the OHV Infrastructure Fund. As the fund was formed under legislation (OHV Act) it has to be attributed to a specific Department or Agency to be responsible and accountable for it. In this case it is Department of Lands and Forestry.

To manage the fund, Government, under the authority of the Minister of Natural Resources, has formed a Committee (see below) to make recommendations on the disbursement of the trail building portion of that fund.

Who appoints members to the OHVIF Committee?

The members of the OHVIF committee are appointed by the Minister from delegates selected by the OHV interest groups, off-highway vehicle organizations, trail builders, and stakeholder government departments.

The delegates bring technical expertise to the table, provide insight into the OHV trail issues across the Province, and act as liaisons between the Committee, the OHV and trails community, and government.

The Committee members report to a Chair appointed by the Minister. The Committee recommends projects and expenditures to the Minister of Lands and Forestry who then authorizes the infrastructure fund allocations.

The Committee members, a number of which are volunteers including the Chair, also serve to monitor, review and provide reports on the implementation of the fund.

What is the overall purpose of building trails using money from that fund?

OHV fund was established to be used for future trail development, organizational funding, health and safety projects, training and other initiatives. The purpose behind building trails goes back to providing environmentally and economically sustainable riding opportunities for OHV use.

Goals of the OHV Infrastructure Fund (Trails) are:

  • to provide funding to help develop and maintain safe, quality and environmentally responsible OHV accessible infrastructure including trails and riding areas,
  • to support the planning and design associated with these facilities,
  • optimize the use of existing trail infrastructure, to reduce the need for new trail development through shared use and management,
  • avoid vulnerable and high conservation value areas and contribution to environmental protection,
  • reasonable public access, and
  • to reduce land use conflicts and inappropriate OHV use by establishing approved OHV trails.

I pay my $40 but cannot access all the trails that my money is used to build, Why is that?

Certain trails have certain restrictions which could be based upon a number of factors such as conditions in landowner agreements, trail standards, location, etc…

Clubs require written landowner permission to obtain funding from the OHV Fund, certain restrictions may be in that agreement which must be abided by or the landowner agreement could be nullified and voided which will result in a trail closure.

ATVANS and its member clubs obtain permission to legally enter the premises for the purpose of ATV trail construction, maintenance and use by our members, your ATVANS Trail Permit identifies you as a member and having permission to legally be there.

Certain trails such as the Rails to Trails have width restrictions based upon the standard the trail has been built to. Lands & Forests, the landowners, have advised the trail managers on the Rails to Trails that barriers are to be set to 66” to allow safe passage of a 60” wide machine.

For more information on the OHV Fund, including Funding Summary Reports please go to https://novascotia.ca/natr/ohv/fund.asp

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