written by Kim LeRoy, OF4WD Information Officer
One of the most common questions received by the OF4WD has been how to locate 4WD trails. Unlike the ATV and snowmobile clubs, there has never been a published source for 4WD trails in Ontario. In response to our member’s inquiries this spring the OF4WD launched our Trail Index Map. The Trail Index currently has over 70 trails listed for our members to explore and we are working to add more each month!
Trails in the index range from level 1, passable for beginners in stock vehicles, to challenging level 5 trails for modified trucks with skilled drivers. The bulk of the trails in the index are Crown land trails, however private land and off road parks are also included on a pay per use basis or via land use agreements with OF4WD membership
When the OF4WD first discussed this project we felt that if we were going to publish a trail map, we wanted to include additional information to help our members make educated trail choices. Trail conditions are always changing and difficulty ratings can often vary dependent on the type of vehicle. For these reasons, the Trail Index is much more than just a Trail Map. It not only shows you where you can find trails, but provides trail status and detailed information about what to expect on the trail.
When you select a trail on our trail map, you are provided with a link to a profile sheet. This one page sheet provides a wealth of information:
- Trail Rating
- Trail Description and Highlights
- Directions to Trail Head
- Suggested Truck Requirements
- Terrain Description
- Cautions or Warnings
- Up to date Trail status
- Downloadable GPS track
- Names used on trail signage by other user groups as well as our own
- Average Completion Time
The real power behind the Trail Index is the OF4WD Trail Reporting System. This system allows our members to fill out an online report and inform us about the status of our trails. This information is used to update the Trail Index and communicate back to our members. We are quickly able to report cases of downed trees, deeper than usual water holes, or other hazards. Without the support of our members the Trail index would not be possible.
The OF4WD is very excited to continue to work to expand this tool to provide our members with information on new and exciting trails to explore in Ontario. By cataloguing key information about the trails used by our members we are also able to ensure we are representing our member’s interests in land use discussions with the ministry; furthering our mandate to keep public trails accessible for 4WD use in Ontario.
The OF4WD trail index is a benefit offered to our members. Before gaining access, members must first complete a responsible trail use quiz. For more information on how to become a member of the OF4WD and begin to explore the ever growing index of trails visit us at www.of4wd.com/trailindex.asp.