Tulameen to open up for ATVs this summer

Residents and visitors in Tulameen will have more opportunities to ride their ATVs in town this summer.

That’s because Princeton RCMP has created a new permit for off-road vehicles which gives holders permission to use untraveled portions of most of the village’s streets.

“This is not a right,” said Sgt. Rob Hughes. “This is a privilege, and in Tulameen this is a big privilege.”

The MV1815 permit opens up the community to off-road vehicles, with the exception of Coalmont Road and a portion of Otter Avenue.

“This is to give the community and off-road vehicle riders the chance to prove they can operate respectfully, legally, ethically and responsibly,” said Hughes.

“If that doesn’t happen, it goes away.”

Related: RCMP to open Tulameen streets for ATVs

Hughes advised the initiative is to allow access to trails, and is not intended to make ATVs a “second vehicle” for residents to do their shopping or pick up their mail.

“This is not for you to drive around town for your convenience…It’s for from your home, to the trail, and then back. It’s not to go to your neighbour’s for a beer. It’s not to go to the beach.”

He stressed that off-road vehicles must stay off the pavement, using only the shoulders of streets and roads, and respect the speed limit of 30/km/hour.

The use of off-road vehicles in Tulameen became an issue two years ago, when a local resident engaged police and held a public meeting with the goal of getting illegal ATVs and dirt bikes off the streets.

There had been several recent tragedies in the area, and local resident Randy Halyk said it was inevitable someone in town would be hurt.

Related: Weekend warriors cause trouble in Tulameen

“I guess the biggest problem is on the long weekends here, when all of a sudden the town goes from 200 to 2,000 people. We have machines everywhere,” Halyk told The Spotlight in a May 2018 interview.

“It’s like an ATV and side-by-side explosion..I think there’s a feeling when you come to Tulameen it’s lawless, and you can do what you want.”

At that time, only one street route was open to off-road vehicle riders, and it didn’t allow access to the trails or town amenities.

Related: Man killed when dirt bike crashes head on with truck near Tulameen

Last summer, Hughes extended the permitted area for ATVs to allow riders passage to the town’s only gas station.

Anyone with an existing permit — and Hughes said there are “hundreds” of permit holders — must visit the Princeton RCMP detachment to pick up an amendment. New applications for permits will also be received.

However, because the detachment front office is currently closed under COVID conditions, riders need to wait until the doors are open to the public, which Hughes said he hopes that will happen soon.

The new permits are only valid until April 30, 2021, as the exercise is a “trial,” he said, adding an individual’s permit can be rescinded.

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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