I am sending you an email letter on Access Management sent to a few stakeholders a couple of weeks ago.
The lack of responsible access management in the Boundary, the smallest geographic area in the province is totally out of control and as a consequence there are many chapters to an ongoing story.
Perspective- In a recent conversation with Doug Noren, one of Interfor’s foresters Doug estimated the KM of road built by Interfor since the company purchased the assets of the failed lumber company, Pope&Talbot in 2008 to be in the order of 1000-1100 KM. How many KM of road have been deactivated/rehabilitated to meet Kootenay/Boundary Land use Plan objectives-virtually none!
I have talked to Doug in the past and consider him a moderate voice on access management but it is obvious his voice gets little traction/respect in his circle of foresters.
Doug did suggest that Interfor would be sympathetic to deactivation /rehabilitation of existing roads if Interfor was paid to deactivate roads not needed in the near future.
The best source of information on access management that I am aware is found in the Kootenay/Boundary Land Use Plan-Draft Oct. 1996.
It is an easy four page read but also a sad reminder of how quick and fast the guideline intent of the report was discounted.
“However, roads can pose a challenge for managing and maintaining environmental and social values. Therefore access management must promote an integrated flexible approach for managing the land and all values through the maintenance of a network of highways and forest roads, to provide access for all uses, while giving careful consideration for the siting of new roads and the regulation/deactivation/rehabilitation of existing roads in order to meet range of Kootenay/Boundary Land Use Plan Objectives and Strategies.”
If you are a player and care about the province’s wildlife resource use the report I am sending you as a starting point on access management conversations.
It is obvious that there are no meaningful regulations when it comes to constructing horse, quad, mountain, dirt bike trails.
To validate my argument I made a Freedom of Information request to the Ministries of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and made two requests.
- Record/file of stakeholders “fined” because of building/constructing quad, dirt, mountain bike, horse trails without government sanction.
- A record of stakeholders “fined” because of ecological damage caused by dirt, quad and mountain bikes when refusing to stay on sanctioned trails.
Will I get an answer? The current tactic by the provincial bureaucracy overseeing management decisions I have challenged is to ignore my requests for transparency and accountability!
The Grand Forks Quad Bike agenda successfully promoted motorized vehicle recreation adjacent to the Granby Class A Provincial Park and the Gilpin Grassland ungulate winter range because transparency and accountability was totally ignored. But if the past is prologue to the future then the populism of quad, dirt, mountain bike recreation may well be deemed more important than the long list of arguments used to support wildlife and wildlife habitat by restricting access.
The Grand Forks Quad Bike Club story is a long pathetic three chapter story for another day but the immediate result has been a dramatic increase in the number of quad, dirt, mountain bike recreationists immediately adjacent to the Class A Granby Provincial Park and on the Gilpin Grassland Ungulate Winter Range,
The long established standard of access management that does not challenge the security of wildlife; .6 KM access per sq. KM was never part of the debate.
To-day there are three docking/unloading stations for dirt, quad, mountain bike recreations on the Gilpin grasslands and a large staging area and interpretive area adjacent to the Granby Park.
Doug Zorn, the president of the GF Quad Bike Club in an article in the Grand Forks Gazette coined a classic oxymoron statement (contradiction): “The Grand Forks ATV Club is active in preserving the environmental and wildlife habitat and protecting our rights and privileges to access Crown Land”.
The Quad Bike Club Agenda was an insulting canned process that excluded stakeholders and to make matters worse Conservation Officer, Dave Webster has been a no show in the Grand Forks area.
To-day there are three unloading/docking stations that showcase a map of designated trails on the Gilpin Grassland Ungulate Winter Range and location of sign markers pointing the way forward. There are no signs reminding riders to stay on designated trails and roads.
If you talk to dirt bike riders you will discover they honestly believe there are no rules or regulations.
Evidently Webster is now an instructor within the conservation service and as a consequence Grand Forks will be home to two new conservation officers. Will it be more of the same or will we be fortunate to have conservation officers in the mold of Joe Carvetta and Bob Workman?
Bob and Joe knew that if you wanted co-operation and trust, best respect hunters and not treat them like peltry criminals. Sharing information both ways is easy when you respect and trust people.
I will send you a few pictures that showcase wildlife fencing in rocks taken in April. The bookends of the story start and end with California Bighorns and their response to hunting pressure.
Barry Brandow Sr.