Collections of stories and anecdotes of ATVing in Canada by Andrew Ryeland of 




- Andrew Ryeland  

Parry Sound North Star May 14, 2003


Spring Jam 2003 – Canada’s Largest ATV Jamboree was a great triumph!  What appeared to be just another ATV rally was actually intended to be something much more … we’ll let you in on the secret if you read on. Spring Jam 2003 - Canada's Largest ATV Jamboree

From it’s inception in early December 2002, Spring Jam 2003 was planned and organized to be a huge commercial venture benefiting the businesses of Parry Sound and District.  If you noticed, there were no Pancake breakfasts of BBQ suppers.  We purposely planned to have all our Jammers stay in accommodations and eat in restaurants in the region. 

Here are the objectives we established just before Christmas:

  • To bring tourism into the community in a season where ALL businesses need a boost (shoulder)
  • To bring at least $100,000 dollars into the community
  • Gain community and public support for the sport
  • Change public perception of the activity
  • Promote the rugged and majestic scenery of the area to visitors
  • Create a community based and supported tourism event that can occur every year
  • Partner with other community businesses to create economic opportunity
  • Strike a balance with ecological and regulatory concerns to show responsible ATVing at its best


Here’s what was achieved:

  • The event was able to cover all costs and came in at the break-even point.
  • 75 local businesses signed up for the ‘Welcome Jammers’ Campaign demonstrating a high level of community support and willingness to collaborate on a community based tourism event. (over 60% have already pledged support for Spring Jam 2004)
  • An additional 80 local businesses supported the initiative by becoming sponsors of the event on our website by donating money and/or prizes.
  • Our Four Wheelin’ Women raised well in excess of $10,000 for Breast Cancer Awareness.  The monies will be donated to the West Parry Sound Health Centre’s Mammography unit.
  • A survey of our ‘Welcome Jammers’ participants revealed that $120,000+
    was spent in the community during this 3 day event.
  • 53 local business people and municipal representatives attended a ‘Post Jam’ event on May1st that was hosted by the Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce, Community Business and Development Centre and the Town of Parry Sound.  The subject of the meeting was ‘Community-based ATV Tourism’ given by representatives of the Ministry of Tourism.
  • Our nearly 400 ‘Jammers’ were very pleased with the organized ATV tours and thoroughly enjoyed the ATV Expo, Heel Kickerupper and Rumble Ride Many first time visitors were taken with our regional hospitality and have pledged to visit our area again this summer and all are looking forward to Spring Jam 2004.

So … where do we go from here?

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are the fastest growing segment of the recreational motorized vehicle market, outselling snowmobiles by a ratio of 4:1.  The snowmobile industry contributes approximately $1 Billion to Ontario’s tourism coffers annually.  Extrapolation suggests that ATVs have a potential of contributing 4 times that amount.  This figure is conservative, in that it does not factor in the 12-month usability factor versus the 3-month sport of snowmobiling.

To-date no community has laid claim to the huge Southern Ontario and North-eastern US market for recreational ATVing.  The keen community and business interest and financial support for Spring Jam 2003 is cause for the Parry Sound District to hereby ‘stake that claim’.  The Parry Sound area is unique in geographical, political and demographic positioning with respect to the aforementioned marketplace, given our proximity to the market, our recent transportation conduit upgrades, the abundance of crown lands and established trails. This and presence of a vetted tourism infrastructure hold the promise of a significant share of the ATV pie for this region. 

There are competing interests for trail use and control in Ontario and the challenge that faces our community is in our ability to prove sustainable models that balance a variety of needs.  Its time to re-think old stewardship agreements, re-enforce proven tourism concepts and think out of the box.  The Parry Sound ATV District Club in its planning of Spring Jam 2003 was blessed with community involvement.  Over half of our volunteers were business people who were not club members. We had a dream team that very quickly learned the value building business and political relationships.  You see we are a social club not a trail building club.

·          Our strength is our partnerships

·          Our passion is to contribute economically to the community.

·          Our joy is to ride! 

Over the next few months the explosive and unorganized growth in ATVing will appear to be like an uncapped oil well.  Unfortunately there will be instances of abuse and trespass as the pressure of thousands of ATVers meets the cold hard fact of thousands of kilometres of closed unshared trails.  Fortunately there are some templates that offer solutions.  One of those is contained in the ‘Best Practices Manual’ that outlines a Tourism Product Model for ATV trail use in our province.  If you are interested it can be downloaded for free from

There are a lot of forks in the trails ahead but also a lot of prosperity if we steer the right course. If you are interested in helping us cap the well and build a productive pipeline to our community’s benefit check us out or call us at 705 774-9778.