More enforcement needed on area trails

ATVS causing thousands of dollars of damage to recreational areas

From Ed Bonthoux’s letter I gather he is an ATV user. I expect he is not one of those who have done thousands of dollars damage in such areas as around Chute Lake, up and around the Garnet Valley, the Telemark ski trails at Westbank (Google Westside Weekly ATV Damage Telemark) and the Wrinkly Face Cliff Provincial Park up above Winfield.

He cites an example of PSI that is totally meaningless without saying if it includes the driver and considerable horsepower of some ATVs. They can easily chew down to the bedrock, as the top soil is quite thin in the Okanagan hills, and with low rainfall, damage takes many years to repair itself. As ATVs are not considered a motor vehicle under the Motor Vehicles Act (otherwise Wal-Mart’s parking lot would be full of them), I would like to know where Mr. Bonthoux got the idea he could use such a vehicle on public roads and property.

Given that you now need to take a course and hold a licence to operate a small boat on an open lake, surely someone operating a motorized vehicle that often has considerable power (trail bikes included) on a confined gravel road or anywhere on public property where they are going to be in conflict with pedestrians should have to go through some sort of training and carry insurance.

And please Mr. Bonthoux, do not try to put a positive spin on ATVs by mentioning the disabled, as it is a point I have heard ad nauseam by the ATV crowd. This is almost as low as city council trying to put a positive spin on their proposed deer slaughter by saying the meat would go to the soup kitchens.

While there is an argument to have the KVR opened up, perhaps at certain times to the genuinely disabled, the disabled should not be used to try and gain more access for all ATV users, as this will only result in access to other areas where they can cause more damage.

And for the record, the Adventurers’ Club did make a donation to Agur Camp last year. As to donating towards trail upkeep, the Adventurers’ Club also made a donation to the KVR last year and, in view of Mr. Bonthoux’s comments, I took the trouble to go and look at names engraved in the KVR Pavilion (east of the Lakeshore Inn) where I found not only my own family, but many other members of the Adventurers’ Club and other outdoors clubs as donors. I could not see Mr. Bonthoux’s name listed.

As to the upkeep of trails, our club, with Andrew Drouin’s mountain bike group, have on two occasions recently removed numerous pickup loads of garbage from side trails up off Carmi, garbage I might add that would not have got there without the help of motorized transport. And one only has to see the amount of broken beer bottles around campfires where the ATVers congregate to deduce the kind of mentality of at least a portion of ATV users. (Google article on Wrinkly Face Provincial Park for similar details.)

What we need is more enforcement of the Motor Vehicles Act on such vehicles when they are caught on public roads (gravel or otherwise) and property, with fines in the range of thousands of dollars and seizure of vehicles when they are caught damaging areas that they should not even be accessing.

Brian Sutch





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