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  • Writer's picture Lorna Visser

Speak up for your right to the peaceful enjoyment of trails: take the RDCK survey

All-terrain vehicle kicking up mud
Not wanted on our trails. Let's show some respect for nature and speak up for a peaceful outdoors.

As a species, we humans are continually expanding our reach into the few remaining wild spaces on this planet. Our desire to recreate and enjoy the outdoors, while it may seem benign at first glance, has actually contributed to the collapse of biodiversity as habitat is lost outright or fragmented by trails and access roads. In general, nature is negatively impacted by human presence.

There are ways to 'walk lightly' on the earth when outdoors, activities such as walking, hiking or bird-watching. And there are ways to be outdoors that are heavy and damaging. One of the worst disturbances is using gas-burning motorized machines to reach places that were previously inaccessible to people. High-alpine snowmobiling, ATVing, driving around on off-road vehicles, dirt biking... all are ecologically damaging.

Worse yet, the burning of fossil fuels, in this age of a climate catastrophe caused by burning fossil fuels -- this must no longer be considered a 'normal' thing to do.

Not only are these machines noisy, smelly and highly polluting, they also spread invasive plant seeds in their wheels and undercarriages. (We discussed roads and their impact at some length in our post of last year, Tough talk about roads (and our fight to de-motorize one).

There is something you can do, right now: speak up by taking the survey

In the area where I live, the Regional District of Central Kootenay is conducting a community outreach survey to determine people's views on parks and trails (not just RDCK parks and trails but ALL parks and trails in the region). Many of the questions on the survey pertain to attitudes toward, and the desirability of, motorized access. Click here to go to the RDCK website and to the survey itself.

An opportunity to speak up for the quiet, respectful enjoyment of nature, as opposed to having our trails and parks used for polluting, motorized recreation.

For anyone who lives in the Regional District of Central Kootenay (or if you recreate here) please take a few minutes to help inform the RDCK’s Regional Parks, Trails, and Water Access Strategy. The survey took me about 10 minutes to complete, I found the online form simple to use. Your input will help inform the planning, decision-making, and management of the Regional Parks and Trails Services over the next 10 years.

It's important to speak up. Be clear there should be NO motorized use on RDCK trails and in RDCK parks. The environmental impacts are too extreme -- and for goodness sake, we are in the midst of a climate crisis caused by the burning of fossil fuels!

Here's how we feel about it:

Taxpayer's money should NOT be used to support fossil-fuel-based 'recreation' that worsens the climate catastrophe, pollutes, terrifies wildlife, and spreads the seeds of invasive plants. Parks and trails should be for soul-restoring, quiet, healthy, outdoor exercise and recreation, not for tooling around on a fume-spewing machine.

That's our take. Please provide yours: just a few minutes to make your thoughts known. It's important.

- Lorna Visser, Director, Valhalla Foundation for Ecology

187 views3 comments


Lorna Visser
Lorna Visser
Jun 04

Comment is same ol' same ol' spin from those who want to tool around on noisy, gas-burning, polluting machines simply for kicks, destroying other's experience in the bargain. As for the 'oldsters,' they of all people should be concerned about the world they are leaving behind for next generations and be willing to give up polluting, damaging activities.


David Harley
David Harley
Jun 03

This is not a yes/no issue.

We are not owners, just custodians of these trails, soon to pass onto the next generation, and then again. We have to ensure that oldsters from previous generations, often with hundreds or thousands of their own hours invested in our trails, are permitted to continue to access their/our trails, potentially with motorized assistance.

Fire and emergency rescues require rapid approach and mitigation. Mechanized assistance can get pumps, hoses, shovels and chainsaws, plus rescue gear quickly to the site, keeping our firemen and volunteers with a safe rapid exit if the wind changes.

All new initiatives on public land using public funds cannot overlook the multitude of use-cases that actually go on out of the…

Lorna Visser
Lorna Visser
Jun 03
Replying to

David: This is classic misdirection, the same old drum the well-funded motorized-use lobby has been beating for years.

There are already special accommodations for those who require mobility assistance and many trails (with more being developed all the time) for people with disabilities. The adaptive-mountain-bike and wheelchair-accessible pathway we created at the Snk'mip Marsh Sanctuary is just one example. "Oldsters from previous generations" are more than welcome to come and enjoy a beautiful experience of nature.

This post is addressing people tooling around on noisy, gas-burning, polluting machines simply for kicks, destroying other's experience in the bargain.

Fire and emergency services already have adequate access, raising that extremely rare possibility is, again, misdirection. The real issue is the grinding degradatio…

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