> Home > Municipal Government > Municipal Departments > Public Works > Parks & Trails > Off-Highway Vehicles

Off-Highway Vehicles

About OHV use in our community

Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are used by residents across the region, including in Fort McMurray and in rural communities. OHV use is a common recreational activity, and the Municipality maintains several staging areas to facilitate and promote safe and legal OHV use by residents.

An OHV is any vehicle designed for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland or any other natural terrain. This includes motorcycles, minibikes, snow vehicles such as skidoo and all-terrain vehicles. 

OHV use is also regulated by several municipal bylaws. These bylaws are in place to outline designated staging areas, enhance safety for both OHV users and residents and to highlight the responsibilities of OHV users.

How do we best promote safe and legal OHV use?

Recreational opportunities are important for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Recreation should be also respectful of our neighbours living in a diverse community and of public spaces. 

OHV use in Fort McMurray is not permitted outside of designated staging areas maintained by the Municipality. At the same time, we recognize the need to balance OHV bylaw, education and enforcement efforts with allowing safe spaces for OHV use, while respecting the rights of all residents.

Recently, new firebreaks created in response to the 2016 wildfire have allowed for increased opportunity for illegal OHV use in Fort McMurray. This new reality has been identified by the Municipality and by you at various ‘Here for You’ public engagement sessions held in recovery from the 2016 wildfire.

While a renewed approach to education and enforcement efforts has taken place since 2016, we are always open to your ideas, input, and feedback on how to best manage OHV use together as a community.

OHV use in our community: 2019 public engagement results

In February and March 2019, the Municipality conducted a public engagement campaign to gather your input, ideas and feedback on how we can best manage OHV use together as a community. There was also a public survey posted online and available at the sessions.

Thank you to the residents that attended the sessions and the over 3,800 of you that participated in the survey.

In response to feedback received through the online survey, the proposed idea of a new chain-link fence being installed in a section of Timberlea and then potentially in Abasand and parts of Gregoire, is no longer being considered in our approach to how we best manage OHV use together as a community.
Overall, about 80% of participants indicated they “strongly disagree” with the proposed fence project and another 11% stating they “disagree” with the project. Only 6% of participants either “agree” or “strongly agree” that the pilot project should proceed.
Other notable results included:
  • 89% strongly agree/agree that OHV use should be expected in our community
  • 88% strongly agree/agree we should take a holistic, community-based approach to OHV management, including development of an OHV Master Plan
  • 87% strongly agree/agree we should be concerned about the use of additional physical barriers due to the impact on the natural environment while limiting trail/access to nature
  • 85% strongly agree/agree we should not increase the use of physical barriers to curb illegal OHV use
  • 85% strongly agree/agree we should continue to focus on education and enforcement, while promoting the existing staging areas
  • 81% strongly agree/agree we should explore the development of new staging areas
  • 77% strongly agree/agree that education and enforcement go hand in hand
  • 56% strongly agree/agree that OHV use in current non-designated areas should be allowed

FLOOD RECOVERY: Information and resources