SYDNEY — About 120 all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts will be driving through the Cape Breton Highlands over the weekend as part of the Highland Quest ATV poker run.
© Submitted photo
Isle Royale ATV Club is hosting Highland Quest this weekend.
It’s the fourth annual Highland Quest fundraiser for the Isle Royale ATV Club.
John MacNeil, one of the organizers of the poker run, said the money raised goes toward keeping club equipment functioning. He said each year it raises between $3,000 and $4,000.
“It has grown from 40 bikes in the first year to 120,” MacNeil said on Wednesday.
He said many in the club take up driving ATVs because they love the outdoors.
The poker run starts at 9 a.m. Saturday in Wreck Cove, Victoria Co., near the Nova Scotia Power generating station, and from there they will spend the night in Cheticamp.
It’s expected most motel rooms will be booked up this weekend in the Cheticamp area, said MacNeil, who’s also a director on the All-terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia.
“It’s a good boom for the economy of Cheticamp. And we have people coming from the mainland as well down to our run and most of them spend two nights in Cape Breton.”
ATV tourism is becoming a bigger business on the island as more multi-use trails are developed, he said.
The Isle Royale club builds trails for use by ATV users, but walkers, cyclists and equestrian riders can also use those trails.
There is an all-terrain vehicle trail off Lingan Road, and another trail that connects Fourchu to communities along the Mira River.
“Areas like New Brunswick, Maine, Quebec and Vermont have hotels right next to the (ATV) trails, and big tourist money comes into those areas. And we’re hoping to develop that in Cape Breton as well.”
About 75 per cent of ATV licence fees go into the province’s off-highway vehicle infrastructure fund, which provides money to associations looking to plan, design and develop riding areas.
MacNeil said funding is dependent on how many ATV clubs are applying; however it’s the main source of money to build more trails across Cape Breton.
For more information on the Highland Quest Poker Run contact MacNeil at 539-9396 or Gary Fukala at 842-1015. Registration will take place in Wreck Cove an hour before the run starts on Saturday morning.