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ATV ACCESS | YOUR LETTERS
What happened to the province's Off-Highway Vehicle Action Plan? It seems to be missing in action.


COLLABORATING ON TRAIL USE

Re: ‟Groups call for motorized access to Nova Scotia's protected areas" (Jan. 11 story). This provocative headline seems
designed to drive a wedge between parts of our rural communities, and it won't work. We're not enemies; we're neighbours.
Environmentalists and ATV clubs worked together on the Ship Harbour-Long Lake Wilderness Area to map ATV trails that
preserve the intact wilderness while encouraging non-motorized recreation.

Here's a Chronicle Herald headline that's more reflective of reality, from Nov. 11, 2008: ‟Eco groups, ATVers agree on trail
access." The story begins with this: ‟The general perception is all-terrain vehicle riders and environmentalists mix like oil and
water, but they've found common ground in a pristine wilderness area on the Eastern Shore. The ATV club in Lake Charlotte, the
provincial All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia and three environmental groups have jointly recommended to the
Environment Department that ATVs and snowmobiles have access to a few existing corridors in the proposed Ship Harbour Long
Lake wilderness area." Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association signed that recommendation.

The government agreed to design a provincial network of ATV trails. Whatever happened to the task force that was working on
that trail system? Perhaps the Herald could send an investigative reporter to find out. And to check the facts.

Barbara Markovits, co-chair, Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association



A SHARED RESOURCE

I have hiked, canoed, kayaked and camped over much of the landscape in Nova Scotia for the last 60 years. In recent times, I
have used an All Terrain Vehicle to access the great outdoors.

And I have come to one irrefutable conclusion: that the true value of wilderness is in its responsible use, not in having it locked
away only to be accessed by a select few with the wealth to fly in or the health, stamina and time to hike in.

I am not a trained scientist or biologist, but have kept fairly well-informed of the efforts in managing the resource in Nova Scotia as
compared to other jurisdictions. And it is obvious that many other jurisdictions value outdoor recreational tourism - including the
use of ATVs. They do this for several reasons, but one of the most important reasons is the huge net economic activity created by
each and every machine. Other jurisdictions also allow selective, regulated and sustainable harvesting of forestry products in their
parks and wilderness areas.

To have continued access to the system of trails that have come into use over hundreds of years would be the best policy. Good
for all the recreational users. Good for the woods workers. And definitely good for the local and provincial economy. Studies
indicate that the economic argument for increased responsible access is very strong.

Also, a well-maintained and environmentally friendly trail system would be useful in the event of a fire or a medical emergency.

And the habitat itself would be a big winner - possibly the biggest winner of all.

In conclusion, Crown land should be a shared resource for all to use responsibly.

Lyn Ervin, Lake Charlotte



ATV ACTION PLAN DITCHED

Graham Smith asks in his Jan. 14 letter what happened to the province's Off-Highway Vehicle Action Plan. It seems to be missing
in action.

The plan's 39 action items were the government's response to the 2005/2006 report from the OHV Voluntary Task Force,
subtitled ‟Out of Control." Its centrepiece, the OHV oversight committee, was disbanded. Enforcement goals in the plan were
never met and were even cut back. The OHV legislation referenced in the plan was gutted.

The system of ‟designated" trails did not happen, but there is a massive back-country network of OHV trails (639.1 kilometres of
motorized trail in eastern HRM alone).

Rural communities were shut down when they asked for the ‟prohibited areas" provided for in the plan on the abandoned rail
corridors running through the heart of these communities, and were refused permission to build non-motorized greenways more
than once.

The plan said there would be ‟opportunity for communities to review and comment on (motorized) trail agreements - once during
the period of the agreement and in advance of agreement renewals" (Action No. 18).

There is no such opportunity, no process in place, no way for communities in which trails are very close to homes and businesses
to evaluate the trail groups' work and behaviour, and the impact on their lives.

Three successive governments have refused to address these major issues. But times change, and the future is green. There are
trails enough in our back country. The wilderness most certainly needs protection - long overdue - as do rural communities.

Barbara Bishop, Paradise



GIVE NATURE A REST

We are called as a people to sustain all forms of life.

Protected areas are called protected areas for a reason. They are protected from resource extraction and vehicular access so
that they can remain pristine.

Both nature and people need motorizedfree areas. Wildlife need areas to live, roam and reproduce peacefully. Our success as
people relies on biodiversity, clean water and clean air. We are so fortunate to have 12 per cent of our land set aside as
protected areas.

ATV use compromises nature by harming brooks, streams, wetlands, wildlife, etc. There are still large areas of Crown land with
trails open to ATV riders and plenty of potential for more such trails on the remaining Crown land.

Surely, we can leave our protected areas free from vehicular access for the good of nature and the continued survival of our so-
called civilization.

Syd Dumaresq, chairman, Friends of Nature Conservation Society



COUNTERPOINT

War on ATVs deprives outdoors enthusiasts, damages rural economy

ANGELA SMITH

I'd like to respond to all the people, including sadly, a confessed member of ATVANS (‟No place for ATVs," Jan. 16 letter by Dan
Hutt).

Do you, Mr. Hutt, or any of the rest of you, truly understand what has been happening in this province since 2007?

I am a university educated, professional woman. I also like to drive an ATV. I do not belong to ATVANS. I grew up in a family
whose patriarch (my grandfather) hunted, fished and grew his own vegetables. He grew up during the Depression and had to
learn these things out of necessity.

It may sound clich, but it was true. He respected nature and the land. He taught me, in turn, how to fish and grow my own
vegetables, along with many other things. He belonged to the Federation of Hunters and Anglers of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia
Salmon Association, the Wildlife Federation, and other numerous organizations that I will not list.

He respected everything about nature and the land and taught me how to recognize various signs of animals or what you could
eat in the woods if lost.

He did this for years and only took what he was allowed, freezing it for us to eat in later months. When he became older and sick
with cancer, he still enjoyed hunting and fishing, but his body could not carry that deer or moose out of the woods. It was all he
had left in the end that kept him happy.

And so in 1986 he purchased an ATV. He registered and insured it. And the only time he drove it was when he hunted. There are
many like him today who have fished, trapped and hunted and are being told that the areas they were once allowed to access
have now been denied to them.

Our group in Lays Lake is trying to work with the Environment Department for a win-win situation. We want to know what they are
trying to ‟protect" from us, the very people who have maintained it all these years and not destroyed it.

There is not a ‟trail system" in the Eastern Shore to speak of. It has been taken by one group and given back to the government
for a wilderness area.

The economy has suffered. There isn't a gas station to be found between Jeddore and Sheet Harbour or Musquodoboit Harbour
and Shubenacadie.

Once upon a time, anglers and hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts, not just bikers, were able to access the trails that had
been traditionally used.

Once the ‟Keep Out" signs went up, that was it. No stores, no jobs, and you wonder why our kids are heading to Alberta.

In 2007, the Progressive Conservatives party tabled a bill for this described purpose: ‟The Environmental Goals and
Sustainability Act (2007, c.7) focuses on the health of the environment, economy, and people of Nova Scotia. The legislation's
major objective is for Nova Scotia to have one of the cleanest, most sustainable environments while achieving economic
prosperity equal to or greater than the national average (Government of Nova Scotia 2008). In order to achieve this longterm
objective, one of the Province's environmental goals is to ensure that 12 per cent of the total land mass of Nova Scotia will be
legally protected by 2015." How can taking 40 per cent of the East­ern Shore's land and turning it into wilderness area improve
our economy? We do not destroy but enjoy the land. I enjoy taking my bike off the regular ‟ATV highways" and going back to a
remote place to fish or just picnic or camp. How is that destroying by travelling on an existing trail?

And to the gentlemen from Brookside and Bedford whose letters were printed Jan. 14, when was the last time either of you stood
and watched an ATV cross a brook or waterway? Is that how you spend your downtime?

Responsible ATV riders don't do that. There are irresponsible people in every facet of life. I choose to bike and enjoy the off-road
experience. I also enjoy canoeing, fishing, camping. Somebody else has their own experiences they enjoy. Stop telling me I can't
do what I enjoy. I don't come into the city or wherever you live and run through your yard. Stop coming to where I live and trying to
tell me what I can or cannot do.

And do your homework. All of you. Read up on some of this stuff. I'm tired of this province being in the Dark Ages. It's time we
started to live cohesively and moved forward economically. More people need to step up, speak up and question why the political
parties - all of them - are leading Nova Scotia back in time.

Angela Smith lives in Lake Echo