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COUNTERPOINT: War on ATVs deprives outdoors enthusiasts, hurts rural economy
Chronicle Herald
ANGELA SMITH

Published January 19, 2016 - 4:33pm
Last Updated January 19, 2016 - 5:23pm

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 cliché, 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 long-term 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