Silent trail users should be heard

I cannot understand why anyone should be permitted by the powers that be to ride “motorized” through what is a linear park dedicated to walkers and pedal cyclists. I suspect their enjoyment of a non-sanctioned activity encompasses seeing how fast they can negotiate the trail without losing control of their air-pollutant machines.

I cannot understand why anyone should be permitted by the powers that be to ride “motorized” through what is a linear park dedicated to walkers and pedal cyclists. I suspect their enjoyment of a non-sanctioned activity encompasses seeing how fast they can negotiate the trail without losing control of their air-pollutant machines.

The use of the term “parallel trails” is a nice touch; parallel trails could be two miles apart. What they are arguing for is side-by-side trails, which could mean that the quiet among us would be separated from a source of irritating noise pollution by nothing more than a three-foot-wide dirt strip. There is also the potential for swirling clouds of dust if the surface is not kept in peak condition. It is no wonder that the quiet users of the trail, packed by authority, voiced what I believe to be their long-simmering resentment against the motorized crowd once the latter were banned prior to the May long weekend.

In town during spring and summer you can’t walk more than two or three blocks without having your hearing savaged by the passage of a mufflerless moron-cycle or a poorly mufflered car. I appreciate the opportunity to walk the east arm of the KVR out of Penticton and enjoy the view, happy for a time to be “far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife. I once walked the west arm, but the surface underwent such deterioration — sink holes, run-off erosion, loose stones and rocks littering the surface, stretches covered by dust the consistency of flour — that I abandoned it.

Will “motorized” riders include those who operate street bikes? Will there be no escape to areas where traffic noise, if not completely absent, is muted, and one can attune one’s ears to the sounds of the natural world?

Of course there remains the problem of enforcing any regulations that purport to protect sanctioned use of the trail. Walkers and cyclists are in a position to observe and report non-sanctioned use of the trail, but without identification numbers, one ATV is the same as another. If the machines are, in future, required to show licence plates, absent a good memory, the employment of pencil and paper by the reporter would be observable by the miscreants and could lead to violence. Obviously not a good situation, what can be done?

Watching horse and rider go by on the trail, I noticed that when plodding along, a horse does not lift and set down its front hooves, it throws them forward, each motion ploughs up the surface so that damage to it is seen to be severe. Stones are kicked out and loosened, sand/clay scattered. If deterioration of the surface is now a concern, should horseback riding be prohibited? The question is one that will have to be addressed.

For me, the “motorized” advocates to state that the B.C. government could make millions by giving them licensed unrestricted access to the KVR roadbed obviously requires that the concerns of walkers and cyclists be totally ignored. Have these advocates made a study of the possible savings to the health care system stemming from the benefits of healthful exercise accruing to walkers and cyclists? How many millions may this save? I can state without bluster that if motorized traffic appears on the portion of the trail frequented by me I will disappear from it. Surely, social justice demands that, first and foremost, consideration be given to the quiet, self-propelled enjoyers of the trail.

Dave Adair

 

Penticton