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AWA Wilderness & Wildlife Defenders: OHV Event in Ghost & Castle

March 10, 2015

Areas of the Castle and Ghost/Waiparous Public Land Use Zones are proposed locations for two organized off-highway vehicle events planned for spring and summer 2015. These events will degrade headwaters ecological values and the recreational experiences of responsible users.  Please add your voice to urge the Alberta government to stop these organized off-highway vehicle race events that could cause immense destruction of sensitive watershed areas.

-Brittany Verbeek, AWA Conservation Specialist

The Issue

AWA was alerted to plans of two upcoming off-highway vehicle events, one in the Ghost/Waiparous area and the other in the Castle. These high impact organized events will cause physical damage to both watersheds and should not be permitted. They will also encourage the mentality that a small minority of motorized recreationalist can do whatever they please on public land without regard for other recreation users and ecological values of the area. These two events must be stopped to prevent further destruction of these crucial headwater areas.

Event Information

From social media sites, we have gathered the following information:

Ghost/Waiparous Event:
Organizers: Unleashed Events and Impact Indoor Racing
Location: Lost Knife designated OHV trail in the Ghost Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ)
Dates: May 16 to May 18, 2015

Castle Event:
Organizers: Unleashed Events and Unleashed Offroad
Location: the Castle Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ)
Dates:  July 3 to July 5, 2015
Statements such as “Lets Rip S**t Up” and “Be sure your rig has a snorkel” demonstrates that the organizers for both events are  promoting illegal behaviour including off-designated OHV trail use and driving right through streams and other wet areas.
 

Background

As AWA understands it, to date ESRD has not rejected a proposal for an organized event or set a limit on how many permit applications can be granted per year to hold OHV events. Permits should be denied to any event, such as these two, that seem likely to result in off-trail, wetland and watercourse damage. In addition, the timing restrictions in place should expand from winter months, to other important times of year, such as spring and fall fish spawning periods, especially since Alberta has two threatened native trout species needing full habitat protection to successfully recover populations.
 
AWA has requested in previous meetings with ESRD that both an administrative fee to help fund enforcement officer presence, and a damage fund, be required for OHV events. At present, damage costs resulting from events like these are borne by Alberta tax payers while event organizers are profiting by charging a participation fee with no motivation to follow rules, clean up, or prevent destruction of wildlife habitat.

A copy of AWA’s most recent letter to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) Minister Fawcett regarding the two planned OHV race events is here.

A copy of a previous letter AWA sent September 2014 to ESRD Minister Fawcett requesting general information on OHV events in the Livingstone-Porcupine areas is here.

A copy of ESRD’s response letter to AWA’s Sept. 2014 letter is here.

Take Action

Please write ESRD Minister Kyle Fawcett, ESRD.Minister@gov.ab.ca :

  • Oppose these two upcoming events in important headwater areas of  the Ghost/Waiparous and the Castle PLUZs which will result in extensive watercourse and wetland damage.
  • Request ESRD collect registration fees and damage funds for any access permit application so the event organizers, not tax payers, are liable for environmental damages.
  • Request policy changes be made to prevent further harmful impacts of these events and ensure more on the ground enforcement.

Please copy AWA at bverbeek@abwild.ca on your correspondence.

Thank you for defending our headwaters!
 
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