Motorized use of non-motorized trails has been an issue in British Columbia for many years, but Marysville resident Randy Wallach says that it is getting worse with every passing year.
Wallach says he has major concerns with two lakes in the Matthew Creek area, Haystack and Cooper, that he has been walking to for years.
But now, he says, quads have been over the trails again and again, widening them and causing damage.
“These trails are posted as non-motorized,” he said. “I’ve been walking the one to Cooper Lake since 1960 but I started to notice a lot more quads over this year.
“I was up berry picking this summer and saw at least a dozen quads. I even saw a Jeep pulling a boat trailer.”
Wallach says the quads ruin the trails, not to mention that the areas around Cooper and Haystack Lake are grizzly and caribou habitat.
“Quads are bigger and heavier than they used to be and they disturb the ground. Haystack Lake is being totally run over. They ignore the signs, run them over or drive around them, even take them down.”
Wallach says there are thousands of kilometres of forest service roads, that quads can legally run on — he doesn’t see why they need to go where it is clearly posted for non-motorized traffic only.
Since November of this year, off road vehicles like quads have to be licensed and carry insurance. Wallach hopes this may aid in reporting violators. There is a hotline you can call to report 1-844-676-8477.
He has been in contact with the Ministry of Forests, who admit that it is a problem but have difficulty dealing with it.
“A wide variety of efforts have been made to prevent the escalating motorized use of the trail, including physical barriers, signage, surveillance cameras, compliance and enforcement patrols, and violation tickets,” wrote Garth Wiggill, Regional Executive Director, Kootenay Boundary Region to Wallach.
“Physical barriers and signs prohibiting motorized use have been continually removed by non-compliant motorized users and re-established by the Ministry. Surveillance cameras and C&E patrols are only effective if violators can be caught in the act of an infraction. This is a difficult task to accomplish in an area as vast and remote as B.C.’s backcountry, particularly due to existing limitations in available resources and capacity.
“We will continue C&E actions with Natural Resources Officers and the Conservation Officer Service, as well as maintaining appropriate signage at the trailhead and along the trail route.
“Members of the public can assist us in our efforts by reporting witnessed infractions to the NRO tip line.”
Wiggill also said that reporting license plate numbers would help.