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Posted: April 6, 2019

Proposed trail will have a negative impact

Letter to the Editor

The following is a letter that has been sent to RDEK Electoral Area C Director Rob Gay.

Upon reading the March 18, 2019 e-KNOW article that reported Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) support for the Perry/Booth ATV connector trail, we would like to inform you of our objections to the application.

Since the spring of 2018 we have been in communication and voicing our concerns to Lisa Cox as we understand she has the final say on project approval.

We would appreciate the opportunity to share this information with the RDEK as well.

Our community is in 100% agreement that this application should not be approved.

In our opinion the trail will have a negative impact on the general public, environment, wildlife and residents living in the area. This trail will connect existing roads and trails essentially creating a loop road that will run within meters of some of the Oldtown residents’ properties. Excessive use is anticipated due to the ATV club and Tourism BC advertising this as an official recreation trail.

According to information submitted by Wildsight to FrontCounter BC and RDEK the trail:

  1. a) does not meet the recommended buffer zone next to wetlands, creating a major source of sedimentation and erosion;
  2. b) will create three kms of new road in an area that already has three times the acceptable road density;
  3. c) will open old roads that have been reseeded and replanted, and are currently not accessible;
  4. d) includes sections with a 13% grade, leading to high sedimentation concerns and changes in water flow drainage patterns;
  5. e) further decrease ungulate numbers in an area already experiencing serious recent declines;
  6. f) will displace wildlife and reduce suitable habitat for ungulate and sensitive species.

Information submitted to the agencies by the BC Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers added that:

  1. a) the ingress of invasive and noxious species will negatively impact wildlife habitat and livestock grazing;
  2. b) new trail is not warranted as many existing trails that receive considerable traffic are already present;
  3. c) the proponent is currently recreating in sensitive areas;
  4. d) there is concern of inevitable spread of unofficial trails to nearby ridge tops;
  5. e) due to lack of protective legislation and enforcement noncompliance and abuse cannot be managed;
  6. f) the opportunity to enjoy traditional wild and quiet recreation experiences in the area will be lost.

As residents and property owners in the area we have additional concerns.

They include:

  1. a) an extreme increase in noise pollution as ATVs emit sound (up to 102 dB(A) at 50 feet) that travels for kilometres;
  2. b) there has been no public consultation offered to the residents of Perry, Booth Creek, Wycliffe or other bordering residential areas;
  3. c) lack of enforcement for destructive acts on wildlife and environment;
  4. d) a loop road allows unethical hunters and ATV riders different routes in and out making crimes undetectable and unenforceable;
  5. e) the negative effects of this trail will be felt all year round as it would host ATVs/ORVs and snowmobiles alike;
  6. f) a significant increase in risk of forest fires started by people due to the ease of access;
  7. g) road degradation as the trail will cross Perry Creek Road, which is gravel road and currently low maintenance priority by Department of Transportation.

In the application submitted by the KRATV club, its members admit to driving in the creek bed in order to get to where they wish to go. Thus, validating their need for a safe and environmentally friendly alternate route. So, why is this self admitted environmentally damaging practice being rewarded by funding (CBT) and support (RDEK)?

The Crown land that would be lost to this ATV trail can currently be enjoyed by many different types of recreational users. Hunters, hikers, x-country skiers and horseback riders can all enjoy the area as is. An ATV trail becomes unfavourable for the other interests due to the size, speed and noise of the ATVs in effect forcing out the other people enjoying the area.

The KRATV club has been approved for funding from CBT to enhance its form of recreation while they offer no promise to protect or enhance the environment they wish to alter during trail development and use.

In contrast, hunters pay a conservation fee every time a license is renewed. The ATV club offers no responsibility in preventing and repairing side trails, garbage removal or monitoring unethical use of the area. Their knowledge of invasive species should be considered as well. As pointed out by Backcounty Hunters in their letter, the club displays photos of ‘wildflowers,’ which are actually three varieties of invasive species. Maybe invasive species education should be mandatory for such clubs before the funding and permits are approved.

With such a variety of serious concerns we ask you to reconsider your support and approval of the trail application. We also request notice of any meeting planned by RDEK regarding this application. We have no knowledge of any past public meetings and but do recommend one planned for the near future.

The residents would very much appreciate the opportunity to participate in this process.

We look forward to hearing from you. Referenced letters are attached for your convenience.

Jill Green and Cathy Sywulsky,

Representing Oldtown/Perry Creek Area


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