Decision may be more anti-motorcycle than pro-environment.

A group of trials riders in the Greater Vancouver Area just found out they’re no longer welcome to ride where they have for the last 50 years. 

The Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Committee recently decided not to renew a lease for the Canada Pacific Trials Association (CPTA) to use trails in Belcarra Regional Park, which lies just northeast of the British Columbia city on the Pacific coast of Canada. Damage from motorcycles and the growing need for nature spaces are the two factors that reportedly led to the decision to keep the group out of the park.  

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That may be the case, but it’s quite likely this has more to do with gas-powered vehicles not fitting the nature narrative. 

David Cameron, the CPTA’s director of sustainability, says the news came as a shock. The group’s 200 members not only use, but also maintain, the 100-kilometer (62-mile) network of shared trails they utilize. The CPTA first began building trails in the area in 1971, before it became a park; the loss of this space will cut the group’s already limited riding area in half. 

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The CPTA is celebrating 50 years in 2021.

An internal report by the Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Committee claims there’s some serious environmental degradation in the ecosystem around the trails the group is using, though it seems to have stopped short of directly blaming the motorcycles. "The intensive use and resultant damage within the area is inconsistent with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks’ mandate to protect significant regional natural areas and provide opportunities for people to access nature,” said the report. 

Cameron says the association, whose members range in age from eight to 83, wasn't consulted before being informed of the lease’s non-renewal. "It is evident that this decision was based on misleading and inaccurate information," he told the CBC, hinting that this might be more of an anti-motorcycle decision than pro-environment. The CPTA will respond to the decision at an upcoming parks committee meeting, where it will request a formal consultation process. 

Belcarra Regional Park welcomes about 1.3 million visitors a year and is in the planning process for future development and expansion. 

The Vancouver area offers hundreds of hiking trails and some of the best outdoor recreational opportunities in the world. Why kick out a small club in a small area, especially one that maintains trails and has been using the space for 50 years without trouble? Should motorized boats be banned from Vancouver’s waterways because of their negative impact on the environment and marine wildlife?

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