The Government of Alberta is currently enacting the biggest change to land use in the province in 30 years. Quite likely, it will impose a significant reduction or the complete elimination of motorized recreation in our parks and public lands.
The Alberta Off-highway Vehicle Association (AOHVA), representing 165 000 users and their families, welcomes the development of a Land Use Framework for the respectful enjoyment of Alberta’s back country on the clear understanding that it is there to protect the environment and wilderness FOR the people and not to keep it FROM the people.
It is important for you to know that AOHVA supports a solution that strikes a balance between environmental stewardship and recreation opportunities. We have worked with non-motorized and motorized groups and we have worked in collaboration with the Government for many years to ensure that the tens of thousands of people who use OHVs have access to ride, fish, hunt and camp responsibly.
Our proposed solution is comprehensive and actionable, inclusive and environmentally, socially, and financially responsible. By incorporating best practices from across North America and by implementing innovative approaches to developing, managing and sustaining shared trail networks we can make Alberta the model for conflict-free recreational trail development and management.
The AOHVA has a 4-point plan to ensure that past damage is corrected and not repeated in the future. We are committed to:
- Working with the Government of Alberta, Land Use Framework staff and our own experts in designing and developing trails that are sustainable and environmentally-sound and repairing damaged trails. We support the establishment of a shared use park in the Castle region so let’s get this right and move on to building proper trails for all Albertans to enjoy.
- Dedicating 100% of an increase in OHV registration fees to tackling important issues like habitat protection and proper trail construction and maintenance in partnership with government under an accountable, transparent and arms-length management structure.
- Giving law enforcement agencies the tools and mandate to fully enforce the law on anyone who violates the new trails management framework for the Castle and for other parts of Alberta as they are developed.
- Building a better environmental and trail experience. Alberta can lead the way in OHV trail development by putting the onus on organizations like the AOHVA and its like-minded partners to be responsible for environmental stewardship as a means of eliminating improper use of the back country.
Our plan will work because it can be funded by OHV users, not taxpayers. We are stepping up and putting our money where our mouth is.
Personally, I have attended more than a hundred meetings with Government of Alberta ministers and staff over the years…and while there have been different ministers and staff, AOHVA was a constant at the table.
We are prepared to work together. Now we need the Government to step up and work with us. Please join us in making Alberta better for all Albertans.
Brent Hodgson, President
Alberta Off-highway Vehicle Association (AOHVA)