ATVers just won’t coexist with real outdoor people

St. Margaret's Bay Rails to Trails, Nova Scotia - Sunday, January 5th, 2014

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It is kind of disappointing that my first post on the Maritime Explorer is a negative one, but it can’t be helped. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a strong advocate for Active Transportation i.e. walking, jogging, biking or x-country skiing – anything that doesn’t require an engine. I am equally an opponent of the misuse of OHVs i.e. snowmobile, ATVs and dirt bikes. In Nova Scotia it seems that to own an OHV is to want to not only wreak havoc on the environment, but make sure that you ruin it for anyone else who might actually want to get out and enjoy the outdoors. I came across yet another example of this OHV eco-terrorism this morning.

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of old roads and trails that the OHVers currently can access legally in HRM . There are maybe 20 kilometres of trails suitable for x-country skiing. This is because OHVers have convinced successive gutless politicians from all three parties that they are a powerful lobby. They have succeeded in making Nova Scotia the laughingstock of the Trans-Canada Trail system by being the only province that allows ATVs virtually unlimited access to the TCT. They have even got the government to change the rules regarding OHVs in Wilderness Areas.  Recently they were handed access to hundreds of more kilometres of roads when the province used taxpayers money to buy the Bowater lands. You would think that would be enough, but nothing but unfettered access to everywhere including private property seems to be their quest.

The one area they are not allowed is in Provincial Parks. Jerry Lawrence PP is only a few kilometres from my home and in winter is one of the very few places that x-country skiiers can lay down tracks and ski in a nice loop that has two lakes to explore as well the road that is closed to traffic in winter. There is a club whose members use the park every day that conditions are suitable which has been most days this year since mid-December. This morning my wife and I went to the park and skiied on nicely defined tracks until we got to Lewis Lake. ATVers had used the lake to gain illegal access to the park and apparently took great delight in obliterating the tracks. While we were there two snowmobiles came along and finished off what the ATVs had not destroyed.

I am issuing a clarion call for the believers in AT to fight back. We need much stronger laws to prevent this type of thing happening time and again. Immediate confiscation of any OHV found in a PP would be a good start along with a lengthy driver’s license suspension. There are groups fighting back including Kierans Pathway. Read their plans for why AT is so important and how they are going to achieve it in the Annapolis Valley.

Now that I have that off my chest, I can get back to work on my Hawaii page which should be complete in the next two weeks. Also posted a new page on Revelstoke, B.C.

Happy New Year

The Maritime Explorer

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