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This is in response to Henry Van Soest’s letter “Freedom to Roam” in which he expresses concern for the potential loss of his freedom in regards to proposed regulations in the bush.
I, for one, am so relieved that the Coalition for Licensing and Regulation of Off Road Vehicles is proposing that the government clamp down and restrict the use of motorcycles, ATVs and other machines used in the wilderness.
I would like to suggest to Henry and others of his mindset, who believe they have the right to take noisy, polluting, motorized vehicles anywhere that they want in nature (because, as Henry says, the Crown Land “belongs to all of us”) that they consider that nature is not just here for their taking.
We, as humans, are part of nature and inevitably suffer as a consequence of this sense of separation.
The tearing up of sensitive ecosystems, watersheds and the disruption of other’s peace when on a walk in the wilderness, occurs in this area on a regular basis.
The Earth is not Disneyland and some of us, probably wildlife included, do not want to be in the woods and have our peace and quiet disturbed because certain citizens enjoy tearing up the hillsides and back country with their toys.
The Okanagan is full of sacrifice zones; mountainsides covered in ATV roads, garbage and party pits, where one group of people felt they had the right to bring their play out to the mountains which apparently we are all supposed to share.
Who are the special interest groups that you seem so concerned about, the ones that would like to see more licensing and higher taxes for this sport?
I must be in one of those special interest groups because if it were up to me I would not allow these potentially destructive toys to take over entire mountainsides that used to be wild. My family have stopped going on certain hikes in this area because we had to endure ATVs ripping past us on mountain trails on a Sunday afternoon.
When your right interferes with my right, then it’s no longer your right. Sorry about that, but as you said, the Crown Land belongs to every citizen and this citizen would like to see less ATVs on her walks.
Don’t you think we may be taking too much from nature and the land? No one is saying, Mr. Van Soest, that you cannot roam the land. I’m just saying that maybe you could put away your noisy toys, put on a pair of good hiking boots or snowshoes and go and walk the land. Now in my books, that is true roaming.
Sandra Shore, Vernon