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Road trails act update - september 29th 2023

The Road Trails Act is now officially proclaimed!

Effective today, a project allowing off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to access trails and services via designated road shoulders and roadways is now permanent in Nova Scotia.

This does not mean you can ride anywhere on any road.

ATVANS has a process to allow road travel in approved locations. A list of 38 sites have been provided to government and we are actively gathering additional information to have these locations approved.


I want to thank everyone who helped in anyway to move this from an idea to reality. Club members, board members, political leaders at both municipal and provincial levels along with staff of various government departments. Thank you to Minister Masland for finishing the job. Barry Barnet, Executive Director, All Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia.

Barnet adds that it took years of work by many people to make this a reality and it could take just a day to make it go away. He appeals to members to please follow the rules, be respectful and help us add more locations in the future.

News release

New Rules for Off-Highway Vehicles in Effect

Public Works

September 29, 2023 - 8:59 AM

A pilot project that allows off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to access trails and services via designated road shoulders and roadways will become permanent today, September 29.

“After a successful pilot project, off-highway vehicle operators have demonstrated they can use their vehicles safely and responsibly on designated public roads,” said Public Works Minister Kim Masland. “By making this project permanent, we are helping riders get from one trail to another safely and supporting economic development in rural areas by giving better access to services like gas stations and restaurants.”

The Road Trails Act, which includes the same requirements as the pilot project, requires riders to have a valid driver’s licence, insurance, registration and a licence plate.

It also outlines rules and penalties, and gives municipalities the ability to designate local streets for off-highway vehicle use through bylaws.

New regulations under the Road Trails Act also set out requirements for vehicle equipment, helmets and road signage for designated roads.

Quick Facts:

  • the off-highway vehicle pilot project started in 2018
  • the Road Trails Act applies to all-terrain vehicles, including multipurpose off-highway utility vehicles and recreational off-highway vehicles, as well as dirt bikes
  • the new act was introduced in the spring sitting of the legislature

Additional Resources:

Road Trails Act: https://nslegislature.ca/.../64th_1st/3rd_read/b273.htm

Off-highway vehicle pilot project and reports, including designated roads:

Department of Public Works on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter: https://twitter.com/NS_PublicWorks

share the road update - may 15th 2023

Road Trails Act Update

Hello Folks, 

Some more news from the ROAD TRAILS ACT meeting last week.  Many are aware that the act has received Royal Assent but awaits proclamation – this is when the act goes into effect. The meeting with Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) staff went well; we have submitted 38 locations identified by clubs across the province and will be providing TIR with more information. This includes land use agreements where required or letters of authority, evidence of community support and if we do not have this, we will begin to gather it with the assistance of the clubs and finally, exact GPS coordinates. 

Staff at TIR and Public Works are preparing an application form to be used for future sites. We also learned that future sites would flow from clubs to ATVANS and then on to TIR staff for consideration. 

For Road Trails on municipal-owned roads, we understand they can proceed through their bylaw process and some have already begun. 

Progress is being made and as we learn more, we will share it with members and on our website. These are exciting times that will create so many trail connections across Nova Scotia. 

Thank you, 

Barry Barnet 
Executive Director 


Bill 273 - The Road Trails Act - Passes Third and Final Reading

Late last night we learned the Road Trails Act unanimously passed third and final reading. This is great news. Once again, I would like to thank everyone who was involved with this huge effort to bring about positive change for our sport and organization.  

The Act still needs to be proclaimed into law and we need more information on exactly how roads will be identified as “Road Trails”. We have submitted a long list of prospective areas created in conjunction with local clubs. 

The passage of this Act does not mean you can ride your ATV or side by side on any road today. Further details need to be communicated from the department and as we learn those details we will share through our emails and on our website. 

You can find up-to-date information on the Share The Road page on our website. 

Thank you,

Barry Barnet 
Executive Director 

share the road update - march 28th 2023

Bill No. 273 - Road Trails Act.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Public Works.

HON. KIM MASLAND « » : I move that Bill No. 273 be read a second time.

It is my privilege to rise today to talk about this bill. Mx. Speaker, everyone in this Legislature knows that Nova Scotia is a picturesque province. People want to get outside and enjoy nature, and this is especially true of off-highway vehicle riders. OHVs are gaining popularity in Nova Scotia, and it's our responsibility to make sure this recreation continues in a safe and responsible way.

The Off-highway Vehicles Act has not been significantly updated since 2006. It's time that we had modern legislation that gives riders a permanent way to have fun while safely sharing the roads and trails within our communities.

Over the past five years, the OHV pilot project has been a tremendous success. At seven sites across the province, we saw that riders can use portions of provincial roads responsibly, and to benefit our economy. Trail connections were improved, giving OHV enthusiasts better access to services like gas stations and restaurants, and our road infrastructure was not significantly impacted by this use.

[Page 5244]

We want to keep this fun rolling, but we know that safety must be our first concern. That's why this legislation will firmly establish the rules of the road and requirements for operators and vehicles. We will continue to use the site criteria from the pilot. Highway speeds must be 80 kilometres an hour or less, roads must have good site lines, and traffic volumes will be low. This legislation will also give municipalities the ability to permit OHV use in other locations through their bylaws.

Local governments know their roads best, and they should be empowered to decide if and where OHVs can go and cannot go. I want to thank the All Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia and everyone who took the time to participate in the pilot program, and its evaluation through surveys and interviews. We received tremendous feedback. You can all read the Pilot Project Evaluation Report on our website tonight for bedtime reading, if you wish.

I look forward to hearing from my colleagues from across the aisle.

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford South.

BRAEDON CLARK « » : I do think this is a good, common-sense piece of legislation that, as the minister said, builds on a great pilot project. I do want to give a shout-out to my former boss, Lloyd Hines, who was the minister . . . (Interruption) He could be watching. I doubt it, but possibly. I wouldn't put it past him. He might be.

I was working for Minister Hines at the time when this pilot project went into effect. It was a great project. We heard from lots of members. I remember talking to Gordon Wilson about it many times down in the Weymouth area, and the effect it was having. So I know it's a wonderful project that has worked very well. We know that people love their OHVs all across the province, in rural areas and even in suburban areas as well. In talking to my colleague in Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, there's a lot of interest out there as well.

I think this is a good piece of legislation. We know people are going to get onto OHVs, no matter what legislation may or may not be on the books. So having something on the books that is comprehensive and highlights safety is really important.

I think it was a common-sense and smart move to allow municipalities the authority and the ability to make their own judgments on roads that they own. I think that just removes a step. It makes things easier and less of a burden on municipalities, and allows us to open up more areas of our province. It is really a beautiful place where people love to get out and enjoy it. The more places we can have that, and the easier we can do it, the better.

I think that this is a good piece of legislation. I'm happy to see it on the floor of the Legislature. I want to thank the minister, ATVANS, and everybody else who's done the work to get this project off the ground.

[Page 5245]

THE SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre-Whitney Pier.

KENDRA COOMBES « » : Mx. Speaker, I'm glad to rise and speak to this bill.

There have been many people who have worked a long time on safe off-highway vehicle use. There are important tourism, recreation, and economic opportunities that arise from the safe use of off-highway vehicles and integrated trail systems.

Nova Scotians love to be outdoors and care deeply about our natural spaces. I know that the staff at the Department of Public Works have worked very hard at making the pilot sites as safe as possible and making sure the permanent programs put safety first and foremost.

I also want to say that I think it was an important part of this bill to give bylaw-making authority to municipal units on municipal roads. Those municipally owned roads are in the jurisdiction of municipal units. That ability to create their own bylaws on their own roads is an important aspect. I'm sure that they are going to be grateful and have no qualms with that aspect of the bill.

Again, I want to thank the staff at the Department of Public Works for their hard work. I look forward to hearing from stakeholders at the Law Amendments Committee.

THE SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the minister, it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Public Works.

HON. KIM MASLAND « » : Thank you to my colleagues across the aisle for their comments on this bill.

Certainly, I'll be the first to say that there were many, many people who worked on this bill long before I became the Minister of Public Works. It is a privilege to be able to be the minister of an absolutely fabulous department that has incredible people working so hard every day for the betterment of Nova Scotians. It's a privilege for me to stand here in front of you tonight to do second reading on this bill.

With those comments, Mx. Speaker, I rise to close debate on Bill No. 273.

THE SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 273.

All those in favour? Contrary minded? Thank you.

The motion is carried.

[Page 5246]

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.


Bill to Allow OHV Road Travel in Nova Scotia Introduced 

Today Minister Kim Masland introduced a bill putting an end to the “Share The Road” pilot project and making road travel in certain areas legal in Nova Scotia. The bill applies the same rules as the pilot project and new candidate sites will be added as they are evaluated. The bill also allows for municipalities to create bylaws to allow OHV travel on roads they control, where appropriate. 

This is an exciting time for our organization and sport. This was a ten-year effort that finally paid off. We will need to have clear communication and the bill must still make its way through the legislative process. Government has assured me that they will make this happen quickly.  

ATVANS will provide additional details as we learn them in the coming days. 

In attendance at the legislature were Barry Barnet, Executive Director, Paul Smith, Treasurer, Tom Arnold, Vice President, Eric Rideout, Trails Coordinator and Jen MacIsaac, Member Services Coordinator. 

L-R: Tory Rushton (Cumberland South), Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables; Jen MacIsaac, ATVANS Member Services Coordinator; Eric Rideout, ATVANS Trails Coordinator; Kim Masland (Queens), Minister of Public Works; Barry Barnet, ATVANS Executive Director; Tim Houston (Pictou East), Premier of Nova Scotia; Barb Adams (Eastern Passage), Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care; Danielle Barkhouse (Chester-St. Margaret's), Deputy Speaker; Tom Arnold, ATVANS Vice President 2; Paul Smith, ATVANS Treasurer; Brad Johns (Sackville-Uniacke), Attorney General and Minister of Justice

We have included the government press release for additional information, a link to the full bill is below:

News release 

Legislation Supports Off-Highway Vehicle Use 

Public Works 

March 24, 2023 - 9:14 AM 

The new Road Trails Act, introduced today, March 24, creates a permanent set of rules so off-highway vehicle (OHV) operators can safely enjoy their vehicles on roads at approved locations. 

This also gives riders improved trail connections and better access to services like gas stations and restaurants. 

“The OHV pilot project showed us that Nova Scotians want to be able to use their vehicles to have fun, meet up with friends and enjoy the natural beauty of our province,” said Public Works Minister Kim Masland. “This legislation makes sure we can continue to use current OHV sites, while giving us a way to safely add more connections.” 

The rules for using portions of provincial roads will remain the same as they were under the pilot project. Riders are required to have a valid driver’s licence, insurance, registration and a licence plate. 

The act also allows for enforcement of the rules and gives municipalities the ability to designate local streets for the use of off-highway vehicles through bylaws. 

Our members across Nova Scotia have been patiently waiting for this day. This legislation will help us make vital connections, create safer travel and grow the local economy. 
Barry Barnet, Executive Director, All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia 

Quick Facts: 

  • the off-highway vehicle pilot project started in 2018 and will end October 2, 2023 

  • Nova Scotia’s Off-highway Vehicles Act has not been amended significantly since 2006 

Additional Resources: 

Off-highway vehicle pilot project and reports: https://novascotia.ca/ohv-pilot/ 

Department of Public Works on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NS_PublicWorks 

Bill 273 (as introduced), First Reading: 

Share the Road Pilot Project Update - November 2022

On November 28th 2022 the Province of Nova Scotia released their long-awaited consultant's report on the Share The Road pilot project. The finding is exactly like many of us expected and is an affirmation of what we believed the outcome would be.

This is very good news for the advancement of the program and moving toward a permanent expanded opportunity for riding OHVs on public roads to access trails, create connectivity and to enable legal opportunities to access services like food, fuel, and lodging.

Several weeks ago, we met with the minister responsible and she signaled very positive support for moving forward with a permanent program this coming spring. This is indeed really good news. We have included links to the consultant's report as well as the executive summary.

Working together we will see positive results.



Share the Road Pilot Project Update

Breaking News

Today at a press conference in Porters Lake, the province announced that the “Share the Road Pilot Project” will commence on October 1st 2018, with six of the nine chosen locations. We are including a copy of the government press release and my remarks on behalf of ATVANS. We will be sending out the two page hand out as soon as we receive an electronic copy. We also live streamed the media event and you can view it on the ATVANS Facebook page. We will be posting other media in the next days including video from the event.

A number of media were present and did interviews including, CBC television, a local Eastern Shore paper and I did a call-in radio interview on 95.7

This is a big step forward; however we have lots of work ahead. Thank you again to all the members, clubs and supporters who helped advance this project. Thank you also to the elected leaders who demonstrated their support and trust in our sport and organization.

Barry Barnet

Executive Director ATVANS

Thank you, speaker Murphy

On any given weekend families across Nova Scotia enjoy the outdoors on an ATV. These are hardworking fun-loving Nova Scotians who love the outdoors and love adventure.

The sport of ATVing is enjoyed by tens of thousands across Nova Scotia. The All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia, supports the organized responsible use of all-terrain vehicles through our 42 clubs and thousands of members. ATVANS is the third largest ATV federation in Canada serving members for over 20 years.

Our sport contributes greatly to the rural economy of Nova Scotia and we can point directly to many businesses that benefit from our members and other riders.

One example is the Walton Pub and eatery. I recently met with the owners who expressed full support for the pilot project and indicated how important the sport of ATVing is to their business.

For us, access to services like food, fuel and lodging along with trail connectivity has been an issue for many years.

For over eight years we have been working with government to help advance our sport by providing access to existing built infrastructure, like the shoulder of the roads, bridges and overpasses.

We, along with our members and clubs, began reaching out to our elected leaders and key staff within government departments. I want to thank those many members and clubs who took the time to introduce themselves to their local councillor or MLA and help advance this idea.

The Isle Royale ATV club in Sydney and their president, Dan Fraser, is one such example. They were like a dog with a bone. Every time a visiting MLA or the Premier came to their area they found a way to respectfully meet up and deliver the message.

We had many champions within government as well, municipal leaders like Councillor Eldon Hebb from East Hants who helped lead the charge with his municipal collogues, MLAs like Gordon Wilson who always returned calls and immediately saw the value and importance in what we were requesting.

Minister Hines who provided leadership and direction within his department and of course the Premier who assured us this would happen. Ministers Miller and now Rankin, thank you for your support. I would also like to thank the many other government and opposition members who took the time to meet with us as we advanced this cause.

On a personal note I would like to thank a few key staff and others who continued to be supportive and answer our calls and e-mails; Royden Trainer, Doug Oliver, Matt Parker and Deputy Paul Lefleshe, our OHV partners at SANS and NSORRA and our own Corey Robar.

Two final points:

First, our work is far from finished as we still have a great deal of education safety awareness messages to deliver. This, folks, is really just the beginning for us. For this pilot project to move forward and be successful for our members and all OHV riders we need to prove ourselves and the concept.

And finally, last but certainly not least:

I would also like thank and point out the hard work of our board and staff who never cease to amaze me with the amount of passion and tenacity they have for this sport. On behalf of our president Vince Sawler and the entire board thank you.

Ride safe.


Province Launches Off-highway Vehicle Pilot in Six Communities

Nova Scotia is launching a pilot project, effective Oct. 1, in six communities to enhance trail connections for off-highway vehicles.

The pilot enables them to use the shoulders of roadways, and the roadway itself where necessary, in order to safely travel in select areas from one trail to another or to access services.

“This three-year pilot will enhance trail connections and associated off season tourism opportunities while providing us with an opportunity for further study,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines. “The locations for this pilot were selected weighing factors such as trail connections, traffic volumes and road speed.”

Only registered, licensed and insured off-highway vehicles can operate on the shoulder, or the roadway, in these six pilot areas as long as the operator has a valid driver’s licence. Drivers holding a learner’s licence are not permitted to participate. No passenger on one of the vehicles operating in the pilot area can be younger than nine years old.

“We’re pleased the government has fulfilled its commitment to advance this project,” said Barry Barnet, executive director of the ATV Association of Nova Scotia. ”This will go a long way to support our work of building an interconnected trail network across Nova Scotia and spreading the message of safe responsible off-highway vehicle use.”

Further information on the rules of the road for the pilot in these seven communities is available at https://novascotia.ca/ohv-pilot/.

For contact information or to report broken links, incorrect information or add content (Rallies, Meeting, etc) please see below. 
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