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

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate armed robbery

Wetaskiwin police seek identification of suspects

Chamber hears ‘13 Ways to kill commerce’

U of A’s Heather Thomson dispels small business myths

Amnesty International worried about Alberta’s publicity campaign

Meanwhile, critics of Vladimir Putin being murdered at alarming rate

Wetaskiwin Bantam Warriors thump St. Albert in season opener

Bantam team showing lots of potential in 46-27 win

Testing winter feed

Testing winter feed lets producers know what nutrients are available

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision with cyclist on Highway 2

32-year-old male cyclist from Red Deer was pronounced dead at the scene

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Outspoken Imperial Oil CEO Rich Kruger stepping down later this year

Imperial Oil is about 70 per cent owned by Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., since 2013

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Alberta spends $3M to hire 30 nurse practitioners for remote areas

Province has 600 nurse practitioners, but minister says most work in hospitals or outpatient clinics

Most Read