Girl power was in full effect across the Highlands last weekend as 36 women came together to enjoy a day of off-roading fun, while also raising money for the Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace operated by the YWCA Peterborough Haliburton.
The fourth-annual Not a Pavement Princess four-wheeling event took place in various locations across Haliburton County July 9, and was an overwhelming success according to organizer, Amber Block.
“We’re delighted again with how the day went. We managed to raise $1,000 for the women’s shelter and a whole bunch of us had a ton of fun,” Block said.
After discovering off-roading around seven years ago, Block said she found it was predominantly a male-dominated hobby and, while she always found the groups she engaged with welcoming, admitted it could be intimidating for some women.
So, Block banded together with some friends to launch Not a Pavement Princess. The first event in 2018 attracted 20 participants, who spent a full day riding on trails across the Highlands.
“It was nice for us just to have an outlet for females only. All of us take part in events where it’s mostly guys, but there’s just something special about being out there with the girls, and tackling the trails alone,” Block said. “Everyone loved the experience. We decided pretty quickly that we wanted to try and make it an annual event.”
The women returned in 2019, this time after partnering with the Ontario Federation of Four-Wheel Drive Recreationists (OF4WD) to make Not a Pavement Princess a sanctioned event. Block also wanted to add a fundraising component – with all participants purchasing purses and filling them with various items before delivering them to the local YWCA.
For their third event, in 2021, they transitioned to simply raising money, bringing in around $1,200.
Block said she hopes to keep the event running for years to come.
“It’s been such a great addition to the calendar for me and so many women. And we hope to grow the event. We peaked at 50 participants in 2021, but we think there’s potential to improve on that… There are so many amazing trails and places to off-road in Haliburton County,” Block said. “Anyone that may be interested, I’d recommend checking out the OF4WD website, learn a little bit about what we do, and then just come and try it out.
“You don’t have to be an expert to off-road. You don’t have to have the best vehicles… We assign trails based on your vehicle and based on your experience. We have guides available, and I’m always happy to help someone learn the ropes,” she added.
For more information, visit of4wd.com, or email Block at email@example.com