June 16/06 1:17 am - Ontario Gov't Offers Clarification Regarding Cycling in Provincial Parks
Posted by Editoress on 06/16/06
Government of Ontario Clarification Regarding Cycling in Provincial Parks Welcomed by BTAC
TThe Ontario Government has clarified that an amendment to Bill 11 - Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act - which restricts travel to non-mechanized means in provincial parks will only apply to eight Ontario Wilderness Parks: Killarney, Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater, Quetico, Wabakimi, Woodland Caribou, Kesagami, Opasquia, and Polar Bear.
The Ministry has also stated that, "The Bill makes provision for the Minister of Natural Resources to formalize exceptions to this general rule. These exceptions would allow existing policies and practices to continue. For example, per existing policies, bicycle trails could be considered in wilderness and access zones", adding that, "Bicycles could be used on roads or trails in access zones such as the George Lake Campground in Killarney Provincial Park, or the Dawson Trail Campground in Quetico Provincial Park. Of course, we will also allow the use of wheelchairs and other devices that assist disabled persons."
BTAC had been concerned that amendments changing the word non-motorized in the existing legislation that allows park visitors to, "...travel primarily by non-motorized means...", to the word non-mechanized could have resulted in a blanket ban on bicycles in provincial parks and conservation areas. Clarifications issued by the Ontario Government yesterday clarified that this word change only applies to the specific wilderness areas listed above.
Paul Nielsen, President of BTAC, remarks states that, "This clarification is welcome and we are pleased that the Ontario Government has recognized the on-going value of cycling in provincial parks and conservation areas. We were very concerned that similar anti-mountain biking language that has crept into legislation in many other jurisdictions had been introduced in Ontario without due consideration. Across North America mountain bikers have had to be exceedingly vigilant over trail restrictions that have been implemented on what are wholly unfounded environmental concerns and often with minimal consultation. This is a very, very sensitive issue for the mountain bike community across North America."
BTAC is a national trade association whose mission is to create consumer awareness by promoting cycling in Canada through alliances and partnerships. A wide spectrum of leading manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers of cycling equipment and services make up BTAC's membership. Programs include, market research, member cost saving benefits and initiatives to grow participation in cycling activities and promote healthier lifestyles. BTAC is the producer of the Canada's bike tradeshow, ExpoCycle. The 2006 event will be held in Montreal, Quebec.