British Columbia is a Perfect-10 when it comes to outdoor recreational activities, and many of those adventures are off the beaten path (literally) and up the mountain on Crown land. Over the past few years, unauthorized trail building in the Sea to Sky Recreation District has been going on and has caused BC Wildfire Services and Garibaldi Provincial Park to deactivate the man-made trail.
While this is is nowhere near our little slice of heaven, we too are in an outdoor riding mecca and trails are a major source of excitement as well as contention. While some may not see the harm in creating a trail, the BC Government sees otherwise.
Unauthorized trail construction can result in:
- soil erosion or soil compaction
- negative effects on water quality or water flow
- slope stability concerns
- negative impacts for other resource users
- safety and liability concerns, due to improperly built or maintained trails and structures
- the spread of invasive plants
- disruption of wildlife habitat or sensitive plant ecosystems
In Revelstoke, numerous volunteers and community-minded individuals team up to create a unique, exciting and fun trail for those who like to hit the dirt road to enjoy. Revelstoke Cycling Association has been working diligently to create such trails all the while taking into consideration the wildlife habitat as well as any negative impacts on the landscapes. Before anyone can build a trail on Crown land, they must first apply for permission to do so and comply with the Forest and Range Practices Act.
Anyone group or individual who would like to build or maintain a trail or other outdoor recreational facility must have a written proposal prepared all the while obtaining provincial approval before the starting process. There is a consolation process that ensures the location of the trail is free of land-use conflicts and will overall be a benefit to users, stakeholders as well as building a positive relationship with First Nations.
For anyone who chooses to ignore the law will pay a rather hefty fine. Failure to comply with legislation related to trail construction could result in a penalty of up to $10,000, a remediation order to return the area to its original condition, and/or a jail term of up to six months.