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February 3/98 23:08 pm - This Is Important!


Posted by Editor on 02/3/98
 

This Is Important!

Since the birth of the sport of mountain biking close to two decades ago, the Bryant Creek trail into Assinaboine Provincial Park (British Colombia) has been a favorite among cyclists in Calgary and the Bow Valley. The Bryant Creek Trail passes through Banff National Park and falls under that Park's jurisdiction. Recently, Parks Canada announced a decision to close the trail to mountain bikers while allowing the continued use by other user groups (hikers, equestrians, and helicopter guests). The rationale for this closure has been to reduce the disturbance and impact on large carnivores, especially grizzly bears.

While this seems like a reasonable argument on the surface, Parks Canada has yet to produce any scientific evidence that shows that mountain bikers have a greater impact than any other users on these animals. No other reasons have been given for this selective closure, leading to a growing sentiment among cyclists that they have been singled out because they are the easiest group for Parks Canada to eliminate in an effort to reduce overall traffic on the trail.

Representatives from the Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance met with local Parks officials in December to discuss alternatives to the closure. While local officials were hard pressed to defend to reasoning behind the closure, they stood behind the decision which was made behind closed doors in Ottawa. In coming to this decision it appears that Parks has disregarded it's own policy of public consultation in decision making.

The Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance advocates the use of a quota system to limit traffic to all users on the Bryant Creek Trail. The Honorable Minister for Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, has in fact stated that quotas and reservation systems would be implemented on certain trails. In this case, however, Parks Canada seems to have found it easier to implement a closure to cyclists than applying a quota system.

This is a completely unreasonable decision on the part of Parks Canada. They have ignored their own policies, disregarded the lack of scientific evidence or inquiry, and made the decision for the wrong reasons. Because of this decision, mountain bikers could lose one of their favorite and most special rides. Will Parks Canada continue to be allowed to make decisions such as this one, eliminating user groups from any area at will without any public input or scientific basis? Let Parks Canada know how you feel about this decision by writing to: Hon. Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Tenasses de la Chaudiere, Leger Bldg., 12th Floor, 15 Eddy St., Hull, Quebec, K1A 0M5.

Aaron McConnell
Canmore


Sydor Club News

The Alison Sydor Fan Club homepage is undergoing an overhaul. One of the new features is a message board. We invite everyone to go and see what's happening and to post a thread on the message board. You don't have to talk about Alison necessarily, just drop by and ask a question or tell everybody about your latest ride etc...! And if you want to become a member of the club, you can do that too! It's all at: www.geocities.com/Colosseum/5120

See you there.

Warwick Patterson
President- Alison Sydor Fan Club

 


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