ATV Use Below the High Water Mark

I'm a waterfront resident.

For years, we have had one of our neighbors riding his ATV on the beach, right below the water mark, 2-3 times/day during low season (Nov-Apr).

This resident even brought a backhoe, twice this fall, to clear a public beach access of some dead fall, and move some sand around, in order to improve his ATV track.

It is believed this person may not even have a driver license, which also leads to believe his ATV isn't registered either.

This situation has been reported to our local conservation officers, without any results as the daily ATV rides continued.

I’ve approached our local RCMP, and was told this was an issue for CO’s.

Could you please refer me to someone who may be able to help?

I would like to have the rules explained to me if possible, and find out what can be done if this is truly a misuse of public land.

water and video

When you say "below the water mark" I feel concerned that this person is driving in a body of water. You don't specify if the water is ocean or lake, but I suspect that latter as few would be stupid enough to subject their vehicle to salt water unnecessarily. If it were me, I'd be taking a video of this driving in the water.

Good luck. I hope you can resolve this.

Still on Dry Land

The original poster led me to believe that the person was riding on dry land, but below the highest point that the water reaches when it is at it's highest.


This area definitely qualifies as public land. At minimum, the ATV must be registered and marked. There is more information on Off Road Vehicle registration here.

A driver's licence is not required to operate the ATV here as it is not on a highway. However, if the operator is impaired, the Criminal Code does apply, no highway needed.

The RCMP is being lazy telling you that they are not responsible. If you check the Off Road Vehicle Act, a member of the RCMP is defined as an officer for the purposes of enforcing it.

The provincial government encourages anyone who witnesses a violation of the ORV Act to call the Conservation Officer Service & Natural Resource Violations hotline at 1-877-952-7277, or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.

You can actually make reports to the Ministry of the Environment on line as well.

After some back and forth with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development I've learned that the Forest and Range Practices Act is the law that applies.

In this particular case, the ATV may be operated on the beach below the high water level as long as no damage to the beach results or it is not specifically prohibited by an order made under the legislation. Exclusion orders can be made for specific locations to prevent or solve problems.

Damage is not defined in the legislation, so this falls to the interpretation of the enforcement officer, who will ultimately have to convince the court that damage was done if the situation proceeds to prosecution.

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