Monday, January 30, 2017

CNP Quad Squad upset about Castle parks draft plan

Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad President Gary Clark - It has been implied that the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad was 100% behind the decision to ban OHV’S (off-highway vehicles) from the new Provincial parks. This is 100% incorrect. Yes, we did support the concept of the Park when it was first announced that the continued use of OHV’S on sustainable trails would be allowed. We have a signed letter from the Minister stating OHV use would be allowed and a hand-written note saying “We will work together on this.” Although we were told our input was valued, it’s apparent it was not.

And now, no OHV’S. We feel frustrated, betrayed and angry. We have spent money and thousands of hours of volunteer’s time to protect the environment, and with the stroke of a pen, it has all been taken away from thousands of families who love the mountains of South Western Alberta.

We met with the Minister of Environment and Parks on two occasions, once in a larger user group, and once with the Board Members of the Quad Squad. We presented numerous suggestions on how to implement changes in the OHV industry to promote safe and responsible use, while at the same time protecting the environment. We can continue to build bridges over the waterways, repair the riparian growth of the water banks to prevent silt and natural erosion into the waters, move trails away from the waters, trench proper drainage channels in the trails to prevent run off from entering the waters, thus protecting the fish habitat. With a designated trail system for the whole Province and proper signage riders will know where they can ride. Enforcement of the Off-Highway Vehicle Act in relation to equipment, such as proper lighting, spark arrestors and mufflers, age of riders, and a mandatory permit fee; would generate monies back into maintenance and enforcement, not into General Revenue where the approximately 7-9 Million dollars per year generated from registration does now. Proper washroom and dumping stations for the campers would need to be constructed. More specific penalties for such serious offences as crossing or running up and down the streams and mandatory helmet laws (which is pending} need to be enforced.

We (CNP Quad Squad) advised the Minister that more than 1 million dollars was spent in the last 20 years from Federal and Provincial grants, as well as privately raised funds to install over 30 bridges in the now new Parks area. As of today, those bridges would be useless in the new Parks and should be removed and placed in areas where there are no bridges and where OHV use is still allowed. The Provincial Government has spent about 3 million dollars during the last 3 years using Federal Money; plus an $87,500.00 grant, and a donation of 4 bridges of a value of about $36,000.00 each from the Quad Squad to repair, close, redirect trails and re-install bridges washed out from the flood of 2013. These trails in the Castle area are world class and refurbished by government environmental scientists. The Quad Squad is being proactive to the environment.

Premier Notley stated in the announcement that the phase out period of 3-5 years was for the allowance of new trails to be built outside of the Park’s area. Why build new trails when there is already a sustainable trail system in place? Reduce the imprint by closing redundant trails in the Parks, but keep the good designated trails. Where are, these new trails going to be built? The OHV community has already been told by the government through the Porcupine and Livingstone Range Management Consultations that more trails are to be closed to lessen the linear footprint at the same time approving new hiking and mountain bike trails. A trail, is a trail. You still have the same compaction, water issues whether it be an OHV trail or any other type of trail.

As I stated earlier, we are frustrated and angry. We are distrustful of this government, not only for the loss of our recreational sport, but by the total disregard of public input by thousands of Albertans.

I was selected to be on a Board for the Management of the Castle Parks which was to make recommendations to the Government on hunting, fishing, cattle grazing and OHV use in the Parks. These recommendations were not binding on the Government, it was their decision. The board was comprised of 9 Environmentalists, one Fly Fishing, one Fish and Game, two hiking, one Municipal District of Pincher Creek, one Reeve of the MD of Ranchlands, (both of which were ranchers with their main interest keeping cattle grazing in the Parks), one representative from the Pincher Creek Stockman’s Association, one from Shell Canada, one from Westcastle Resort, one from Alberta Equestrian Federation, and Myself from the CNP Quad Squad. Just by the selected composition of this Board it soon became evident what recommendations would become priority. Several meetings and discussions took place however the Board had not made any formal recommendations that were to be forwarded to the Government. In my opinion, the Government had already made their decision and was working backwards trying to justify their actions.

We wish to make it perfectly clear this decision was made by the elected Government officials, not by the conscientious and hard working staff of the Government. They will continue to present non-biased information to the Government. It is up to the elected officials what they do with it. We must continue to give our input into the Castle, Porcupine and Livingstone Range Land Management sessions. It is a good avenue for public input.

This draft decision affects OHV use, RV dealers, OHV dealers, gas stations, restaurants, hotels etc. and all Albertans should be concerned.

The environment is important, but let us all protect it in a responsible manner. There must be a balance between the environment and recreation, as the Provincial Park Act states: “To facilitate their use and enjoyment for outdoor recreation, education and the appreciation and experiencing of Alberta’s natural heritage.”

We urge everyone to write your MLA, your MP, and the Minister of Environment and Parks and voice your feelings. This is only a draft management phase, and can be amended for every person’s enjoyment.

The Quad Squad will continue it’s work to protect the environment and promote safe, sustainable trials and responsible enjoyment of our back country.

Related stories:


  1. The NDP are using the UN's guidelines for Agenda 21 to make parks wildlife sanctuaries with no access by the public. They are taking away public lands and making more so called parks but people will not be able to enjoy them

  2. Anonymous3/2/17

    Agenda 21? Perhaps you can also fill us in on chemtrails and the airtanker base at Pincher Creek?

    1. Anonymous20/3/17

      Ok I will make this as non combative as possible. Premiere Notely has already attended agenda 21 2.0 in 2015. It was called COPS 21 and happened in France. This is unusual as she is provincial not federal. This is a real thing not some conspiracy theory. Agenda 21 is run by world elite that really want to keep you out of your "natural" areas and box us up in cities. Wow wouldn't that be fun? I would encourage you to google "COPS 21 FRANCE" and you will see I am telling the truth. Its easy to fool everyone if you call the truth conspiracy. Take the red pill and don't keep your eyes wide shut.

  3. Anonymous8/2/17

    There are many people locally and elsewhere who would love to enjoy Alberta's parks without the noise and smells of motorised vehicles. Unbelievable as it may seem to OHV riders, not everyone wants to speed noisily through the forest, cocooned in helmets and such gear: some of us like to feel the wind through our hair, take time to hear the gentle sounds of nature, or even the sound of silence. By closing some areas to OHVs those of us who prefer to walk or horseback ride through the forests will be able to do so in peace and quiet at last. More trails for OHVs are being established so I hear, so really, OHV riders have very little to complain of.
    Besides, the wildlife and the environment in general deserves a break from machines and noise and smells. It will benefit our superb environment, keep it alive for future generations to enjoy, and will also benefit local business who will be catering for a different type of visitor.

    1. Anonymous20/3/17

      What makes you think they are going to stop at OHV's? If you already buy the fact that OHV's are destroying the forest and not 50 years of clear cut logging and gas well drilling than you will be left out in the cold. Thousands of cattle graze this area, did you know that? That is THOUSANDS of cattle graze this area I said. Coliform (microscopic manure particles) levels in the water are way to high from thousands of cows crapping in our watersheds. The grass elk and deer graze on is stolen by these unnatural elements in the ecosystem. Why isn't everyone complaining about that? The watersheds have been destroyed by the logging companies that several years ago shut down the Coleman plant and transported millions of trees to Hinton burning thousands of gallons of diesel in the process. Sound environmentally friendly to you? Put this all on the proper scale and you see what is really going on. The government can conveniently blame the OHV community for damage they already allowed so some big wig could cash in on our forests. Now after the damage has been done they are going to keep us out? Right. I agree with you about the noise and smells, however, we already have several provincial parks and the greatest gem Waterton which is quiet and peaceful. So if we do this with all the areas there will be no random camping or hunting or atving or any fun for everyone except those who wish to sit on a rock and contemplate the universe. While I have done that, I probably got to that rock on my atv. :) By the way, we need to eat, so I am not against the cattle, I love beef. I am just trying to put things into perspective about atv's supposedly destroying the watershed, which is nonsense. I could show you a picture of a 10 ton logging machine crossing the river or 200 cattle standing and urinating and crapping in castle river to prove my point. And honestly neither one of those things did any permanent damage to anything so we all need to sit back here and take another look at the atv issue.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Comments are moderated before being published. Please be civil.

Infinite Scroll