4×4 Events for the Entire Family

4×4 Events for the Entire Family

Story by Stefanie Galeano-Zalutko

 Last year, Off-Road Plus published a feature called “Tread Lightly: Environmentally Friendly Off-Roading.” Its sole purpose was education—to inform the reader what is expected of the community when heading off-road, the various challenges 4×4 enthusiasts are facing nowadays, and what influential groups are doing to balance law and order so we can continue to enjoy wheeling on public lands for generations to come.

One such organization doing good across Canada is The Ontario Federation of 4-Wheel Drive (OF4WD), formed “to represent the interests of the 4×4 community and ensure the long-term sustainability of four-wheel drive recreation in the province of Ontario. We work to achieve this through user education, advocacy work, and cooperative trail management and maintenance programs.” The provincial umbrella organization—comprised of nearly 30 4×4 clubs such as Lake Simcoe 4x4s and individual members—promotes safe and responsible wheeling, protects access to Crown Land under the free-use policy of the Public Lands Act (Ontario), and maintains an inventory of the 4×4/multi-use trails.

“As a recognized public land use stakeholder, we actively participate in trails and land use consultations. An increasingly important area of activity for us is in the area of trail maintenance and use management. We have ongoing trail maintenance programs running with other trail organizations (including OFSC member clubs, Haliburton ATV Association, Kawartha ATV Association, and others). Trail and community land clean-ups have been a mainstay activity of our organization,” says OF4WD.

While this month’s coverage shifts its focus to a few highly anticipated, family friendly, off-road events across Canada during 2019, remember that none of these events would be possible without respected associations, clubs, and vendors promoting responsible wheeling.

Therefore, it seems only fitting to kick off this list with a nod of affirmation to a founding group whose leadership encourages camaraderie among an ever-growing 4×4 community, Tread Lightly! practices, ongoing education, and fun for all ages.

Camp Northern Lights 17th Annual Charity Trailfest – Ontario
August 15-18, 2019

Mark your calendars for the end of next summer because one of the biggest trail events in the province is expecting your attendance. “The name stems way back to the inception of OF4WD, when it was called Northern Lights Trail Rider Association. The main fundraising event for the federation kept the name over the years, as it is well-known and has been running for over a decade,” said the organization.

The weekend is jam-packed with three days of guided trail runs, vendor participation, 4×4 and family-friendly activities, camping, bonfires, entertainment, awards, and even catered meals. Choose from one of over 20 Crown Land trails that range in difficulty from novice to  experienced trail riders. Those just starting to dip their toes in the lifestyle can benefit from on-site courses that combine theory and hands-on instruction—from Off-Road 101 to Rock Crawling 101 techniques.

Most importantly, the event is about giving back. “Camp Northern Lights raises money for the operation of the OF4WD and through the event earnings, we make a donation to the Haliburton Hospital Health Foundation (HHHF). It’s a way to give back to our trail- hosting community,” said OF4WD.

Do yourselves a favour—secure some additional time off and arrive in Ontario a little early to get in the off-road spirit before hitting the trail.

Canada Jeep Show – Ontario
August 10, 2019

The week before Camp Northern Lights is Canada Jeep Show. In its sixth year, this event is a self-described “all-breeds Jeep show with proceeds donated to The Hospital for Sick Children, directly supporting the Possibilities Fund.”

Canada Jeep Show draws a crowd, with ample support from attendees and vendors alike. Admission runs about $20 per Jeep but includes unlimited passengers. Registered Jeeps can participate in the Show & Shine event, with many categories for you to compete in: Best Vintage Jeep, Best Modified Jeep, Muddiest Jeep, Best His & Hers Jeeps, Best in Show, and more. The staff wants an inclusive event and therefore promotes, “No Jeep? No problem! Everyone is welcome, with a donation to SickKids.”

And trust us, there is plenty to see and do, from an R/C track, a Little Jeepers area, and trivia to an on-site BBQ, door prizes, raffles, and giveaways. Above all else, it is rooted in charity. This past year, the event raised $11,000. “Proceeds from the Canada Jeep Show are donated to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), directly supporting the Possibilities Fund. After only two years, we have raised and donated $18,500,” commented Canada Jeep Show.

Canadians from across the country gather together for the wholesome family-friendly atmosphere, none of which would be possible without the ongoing support of event sponsors. The 2018 title sponsor was Double D’s Customs, with a number of renowned vendors supporting the cause such as Lake Country Adventure Co., American Fastbacks, Rigid Industries, TrailFX, Rugged Ridge, Fishbone Off Road, and OF4WD, among many others.

Coalmont Invasion 4×4 Jamboree – British Columbia
July 5-8, 2019

If the events on this list prove anything, it is this: the off-road community is as generous as it is resilient. With the inaugural 2017 event canceled due to the threat of wild fires, organizers remained steadfast in the year that followed to ensure it would still get off the ground. The result was a successful first annual 2018 Coalmont Invasion 4×4 Jamboree in British Columbia.

Hosted by After the Blacktop Ends 4WD Association for Recreation & Expedition (A.W.A.R.E), the Coalmont Invasion was created as a three-day weekend devoted to exploring all the surrounding area has to offer enthusiasts, acquiring new skills, and making like-minded friends along the way. Whether a beginner or advanced, ATBE has a skill-appropriate challenge that awaits. Experienced industry professionals host a variety of training seminars so that every trail rider leaves the event more knowledgeable than when it all started.

In addition to coordinating activities and entertainment for the entire family to enjoy, the group also provides meals and access to camping facilities. Not to mention, sponsors are eager to hand out prizes and giveaways throughout the weekend.

These events fill up quickly, so what are you waiting for? Mark the dates, submit those vacation days, and make sure to check back next issue for a breakdown of 4×4 events that will challenge even the most experienced off-roader.

Categories: Features, Off-Road Plus