The Edmonton Area Land Trust has had issues with off-highway vehicles trespassing on Pipestone Creek Conservation Lands

The reasons and goals behind protected habitat

The EALT have had issues with off-highway vehicles trespassing on the Pipestone Creek Conservation Lands, in Wetaskiwin County...

  • Dec. 9, 2016 3:00 p.m.

By Stephanie Weizenbach

Edmonton and Area Land Trust

 

It is nearing the end of autumn, and with this year’s late harvest, many of the crops have only just been removed. This is the best time of year for those who love to ride free on the countryside on their quad. And snowmobilers are just itching for the right amount of snow for their chance to head out.

With such a short riding season, and limited space, it is tempting to spill into natural areas where you aren’t allowed to ride, and where environmental protection is important. Whether on a quad, snowmobile, dirt bike, or other off-highway vehicle (OHV), it is important to know where you can and cannot ride.

The Edmonton and Area Land Trust frequently deals with trespassing on our natural areas, which tends to come in from neighbouring trails. We sign our protected areas at all entrances and boundaries, but sometimes even these clearly marked signs aren’t enough to stop that thrill-seeker from riding in.

Why should you care? EALT doesn’t just make up rules to ruin your fun; in fact, many local municipalities have similar rules. There are numerous reasons why you should care, and help us conserve these protected areas.

One very expensive reason for only entering on foot is that some of our conservation areas have been planted with thousands of tree seedlings. These young trees are meant to regenerate the forest in areas where trees were previously damaged or removed; this renewed forest will benefit everyone. Driving over these seedlings damages or kills the trees and hinders our future forests.

Another reason to stay off with OHVs is to prevent erosion and damage to fish habitat. Deep ruts scar steep slopes, leaving soil exposed and increasing erosion as rain and spring runoff slowly wash the soil down into the creek. Not only does this type of damage increase the chance of floods downstream, but it also impairs the movement of fish, and negatively affects their reproductive success. Not to mention the eyesore it creates on an otherwise scenic area.

Of course there are many other reasons for respecting the rules for using natural areas, but here’s another reason which we particularly hope will persuade everyone to stop, read, and respect our signs. Our local volunteers spend over 100 hours each year removing invasive weeds to protect biodiversity in these sensitive areas. Your OHV can carry and spread seeds, after driving over weeds in other areas. So please stay off to protect nature and to give our volunteers a well-deserved break!

There are many designated riding trails in Alberta, and neighbours who will happily allow you to ride freely on their fields in the crisp autumn air. So before you head out, have a look at a map, be respectful and ask for permission, and figure out where you can ride responsibly.

If you’d like to find out how to avoid our natural areas on your quad or snowmobile, and help keep them natural, visit our website at www.ealt.ca to see where our lands are located. And if you’re passing by, take a moment to hop off your machine and go for a walk on our conservation lands to connect with nature!

 

 

Just Posted

Four charged in armed Samson Cree Nation home invasion

Suspects tied to prior forcible confinement case

Watch out for increased coyote activity in the coming weeks

No plans to remove coyotes from Wetaskiwin: Fish and Wildlife

Millet Fish and Game celebrates 30 years

Three decades marked with awards banquet, charity fundraiser

Red Deer will officially be the home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo

CFR has potential to bring in an economic impact of $20-30 million

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Season opener ice race

Ice races held annually on Pigeon Lake

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Most Read