Letter: Stay on trails, show respect

Enforcement should only be used when education has failed or been ignored, writes the Grand Forks ATV Club.

The Grand Forks ATV Club continues to work hard promoting responsible use of the environment and respect for wildlife.

Morrissey Creek, Lost Lake and Nature Trust Property, all located close to Grand Forks, are great examples of areas where responsible use of the environment and respect for wildlife are happening each day. Many users stay on the trail enjoying the area while observing the many species that can be found on the southern facing slopes.

This is a sensitive area receiving the benefits of early snow melt warming the soil supporting growth of native grasses and flowers which provide the wildlife much needed sustenance. This early spring condition unfortunately draws some that enjoy going off trails and mud bogging, activities that are very damaging to the environment and many wildlife species.

How best to try and curtail this activity? New regulations to the Off Road Vehicle Act requiring registration and a decal or plate to be placed on all off road vehicles will indeed help identify the few that seek the destructive activity of going off trail or mud bogging.

More enforcement by RCMP or Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations would help but enforcement should only be used when education has failed or been ignored.

Would fencing reduce the temptation or just increase the resolve? Perhaps if there was a recognized location where activities such as hill climbs and mud bogging could be encouraged. Would this help if located in an area where this would not affect the environment and wildlife?

You can help by staying on the trails, showing respect for the environment and wildlife, big or small, and by talking to your children and setting a good example. If you see folks succumbing to temptation, take a picture and send or drop off the information to the RCMP, who have the tools to deal with repeat offenders, or call  TIPS 1-844 NRO-TIPS (676-8477) and the RAPP line 1-877-952-7277.

Regarding public dirt roads, there are a few of these roads that have been designated public roads due to folks living on them. The Off Road Act does not legally allow off road vehicles to travel on these roads. The first 720 metres of Morrissey Forest Service Road is a public road. If you drive on this section of road you can receive fines.

– Grand Forks ATV Club