Accidents can and will happen. "Yahoo" riders damage the sustainability of our sport. Be considerate and travel safely. Treat other trail users as a friend regardless of how they treat you.

  1. Drinking and atving don't mix
  2. Carry maps and emergency supplies
  3. Always wear your helmet and eye protection
  4. Let someone know where your heading and never wheel alone
  5. Always carry a pocket knife and water proof matches
  6. Take it easy. Life is fast enough, enjoy the scenery
  7. Know your limitations and your atv's limitations
  8. Respect other trail users and always give way to non motorized users
  9. Respect the laws in place to protect you from yourself & others
Trail Ride with minimum impact
  1. Stay on the trails
  2. Minimize wheel spin
  3. Avoid roosting corners
  4. Avoid soft bottom rivers and streams
  5. Traverse water crossings slowly and at a 90 degree angle
  6. Always pack out what you pack in
  7. Stay off private land

General ice thickness guidelines
For New, Clear Ice Only

  • 2" or less - STAY OFF
  • 4" - Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5" - Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8" - 12" - Car or small pickup
  • 12" - 15" - Medium truck
Remember that these thicknesses are merely guidelines for new, clear, solid ice. Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.

Checking ice thickness
No matter what you are going to do once you get on the ice - like fishing, snowmobiling, skating or even ice boating, it's a good idea to contact a local bait shop or resort on the lake about ice conditions. It's also important to do some checking yourself once you get there. Several factors affect the relative safety of ice, such as temperature, snow cover and currents. But a very important factor is the actual ice thickness.

Ice Chisel
The ice chisel or "spud bar" is one of the oldest methods of making a hole in the ice. In its simplest form, it consists of a metal rod with a sharp, flat blade welded onto one end that is driven into the ice in a stabbing motion. Depending on the sharpness of the blade, the thickness of the ice and the strength of the user, it can make a hole in the ice fairly quickly, especially when the ice is less than a foot thick.

Ice Auger
There are several varieties of ice auger. Some people like the hand auger for its low cost, light weight and low noise factor. The disadvantage of a hand-powered auger is that after a few holes, operator exhaustion becomes an issue. Some folks like an electric auger, with its low noise level rivaling a hand auger, with the advantage of a lot less work for the user. An electric auger does, however, need an external 12-volt battery, which can be something of a nuisance to lug around. Gas augers boast the fastest speed in drilling through the ice, but are heavier, noisier and generally more costly than hand or electric models.

Cordless Drill
There is one tool, that many households have hanging on the pegboard in the basement or on a shelf in the garage that can make checking ice thickness a quick and easy task - a cordless rechargeable electric drill. With a cordless drill and a long, five-eighths inch wood auger bit, you can drill through eight inches of ice in less than 30 seconds. Most cordless drills that are at least 7.2 volts will work, but the type of bit is critical. You need a wood auger bit since they have a spiral called a "flute" around the shaft that metal drilling bits don't. The flutes pull the ice chips out of the hole and help keep it from getting stuck, much in the way a full-sized ice auger works. It is important to dry the bit and give it a quick spray of silicone lubricant after each use. Otherwise, the next time you open your toolkit, you'll find your once shiny drill bit looking like a rusty nail!

Tape Measure
Some people claim they can judge thickness by where the chisel or drill suddenly breaks through, but that happens so quickly, it's easy to overestimate the thickness. It's smarter to use a tape measure or something like an ice fisherman's ice skimmer handle with inch markings to put down the hole and hook the bottom edge of the hole to determine the ice's true thickness.

Other things to keep in mind when checking ice
Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water. It can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away due to currents, springs, rotting vegetation or school of rough fish. You need to check the ice at least every 150 feet, especially early in the season or any situation where the thickness varies widely.

White ice, sometimes called "snow ice," is only about one-half as strong as new clear ice so the above thicknesses should be doubled.

Vehicles weighing about one ton such as cars, pickups or SUVs should be parked at least 50 feet apart and moved every two hours to prevent sinking. It's not a bad idea to make a hole next to the car. If water starts to overflow the top of the hole, the ice is sinking and it's time to move the vehicle!

4 INCHES One Person ~ Foot Travel
5 INCHES Getting Better ~ Several People/Snowmobile
8 - 12 INCHES Car or Small Pickup
12 INCHES OR MORE ~ Truck [medium size]


HATVA Implements SPOT Satellite Unit
HATVA has purchased a SPOT satellite emergency transmitter that can dispatch 911 emergency location messages from almost anywhere in the world. The unit has other tracking and help features including an interface with Google maps but HATVA will primarily be using the unit for dispatching 911 in the event of a serious emergency. The unit will be carried with us on HATVA rides and events. We hope we never have to use the unit, but we know from experience that cell phones don't work in most situations of deep woods riding in our trail catchment area. With some 1,700 km of trails it is estimated that only 25% of the time would riders have cell service at a given trail location. The SPOT unit will work almost anywhere and it sends the message even if it cannot triangulate all 3 satellites and it keeps sending for help until the message is cancelled. HATVA has a search and rescue team and they are involved in searches every year ... so the unit will come in handy for that use as well.

HATVA To Offer Certified ATV Training For Young Riders
Young Rider Training With the success of our HATVA Yamaha Bear Rally ... which included free certified atv training to the public, HATVA has decided to do an annual event Spring Training Camp that focus totally on ATV safety. HATVA will provide the ATV's, the safety equipment and certified instructor for those under 16 that would like to take the safety training in a controlled environment.

For HATVA member's children the training is FREE! For none ATV members there will be a $10 charge to cover expenses only. A free BBQ lunch is included. Date and location will be posted on our events page. HATVA is committed to insure that new ATV riders get off to a safe start. In addition HATVA offers intermediate adult training day once per year as part of our regular event schedule.

Trespassing Is A Crime!
Lately we are getting some complaints from landowners that ATV's have been seen or stopped on their private property. Avers who trespass do a disservice to the entire ATV community. It's illegal - if you don't know don't go. Only the designated trails on the HATVA map are legal ATV trails.

The only way were going to stop atv trespassing is to lay charges and make it known that JUST BECAUSE THERE'S A TRAIL SOMEWHERE DOES NOT MAKE IT OK FOR ATV'S TO USE IT. If you know of someone who is an ATV trespasser tell them to STOP. It's hurting us all. For landowners who have a problem carry a digital camera and take pictures including plate #'s and report it to the OPP so charges can be laid. Changes are on their way for the Trespassing Act and it's going to get very expensive for those that are caught.