Joined: 12 Dec 2006
|Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:39 pm Post subject: ATV USE
|There has been a lot of concern expressed this fall over forest access. Outfitters are indicating that the lack of regulation to allow for ATV use and the system of designated trails is causing operational difficulties. In some situations access trails have been severely rutted by forest operations to make any travel impossible.
In W. M. 2’s 48, 49, 56 to 59 and 68, ATV use is restricted to afternoons only.
W. M. 2’s 60 & 61 have a system of designated trails and ATV use is confined to these trails.
All other forest W. M. 2’s has no time restrictions on ATV use.
The problem stems from the provinces attempt to manage the moose and elk herds over the last number of decades. It is believed that increased ATV use provides easier access to the forest and that increases the harvest of animals. Restrictions have centered on the extreme east of the province and Zone 68 (west side), where it is believed these species are the most vulnerable.
The SOA Big Game committee, the Forestry committee, the ATV committee and the Wildlife Advisory committee has been attempting to address this situation.
The SOA has advocated for new regulations that would allow all outfitters the use of ATV’s citing a number of reasons including;
• Equal opportunity for all outfitters across the province
• Access to more remote areas that would reduce competition over hunting area with resident hunters
• Easier access to their hunting areas during wet weather
• Opportunity to move clients to remote stands earlier in the morning
• Ease of servicing hunting sites and checking on clients
In developing new policy on ATV use and forest access Sask Environment also consulted with a number of user groups.
From these consultations 4 different options have been created that are being considered by Sask Environment. These options largely try to achieve two things. First they attempt to provide more opportunity for ATV use that is the same throughout the forest area. Second they still provide for the necessary protection of the elk and moose populations.
Sask environment has indicated that a decision will be made on future policy well before the 2008 fall hunting season.
In those situations where trails have been made impossible by forest companies (tree planters) Sask Environment has indicated the roads that have been damaged will be repaired during the week of October 22 – 26. Two sites are to be repaired including those into the Big Valley and Carragana plantations.
Outfitters should contact Sask Environment if they have concerns over other roads that have been damaged because of the tree planning program.
We also encourage affected outfitters to make their concerns known to their MLA’s and opposition members.
Names and number can be obtained by calling the NDP Caucus office at 306-787-7388 or the Sask Party Caucus office at 306-787-4300.