Alberta wants to create trails for off-road enthusiasts within its parks system as part of a 10-year management plan unveiled Monday (April 20), according to cbcnews.ca.
Alberta’s population has doubled since the 1970s, when many of the park facilities were built, said Cindy Ady, the minister of the Department of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. Besides more campgrounds and bigger camping sites to accommodate trailers, she said she would like to see trails designed for off-road vehicles.
“We have more (off-road) vehicles being sold in this province than anywhere in North America. We can continue to let it just go anywhere it wants to or we can start to designate trails and try and say ‘look, we want this activity to try and happen on trails,'” she said.
Quads, some motorcycles, snowmoblies and dune buggies are among the vehicles Alberta designates as off-road.
“What we are looking at are those more remote campgrounds where perhaps you could exit out the back of the campsite and on to trails. We are not looking at dumping (off-road) vehicles into the Kananaskis or anything like that,” she said. “Definitely there are ecosystems out there where they don’t belong and they shouldn’t be and we are never going to allow them.”
Alberta’s parks system makes up about 4% of the province and includes provincial parks and smaller reserves and natural areas, according to a report on the parks plan released Monday.
Under the plan, Alberta wants to ask for public feedback on parks planning, make it easier to nominate an area for a park or a park expansion, and come up with guidelines for activities such as geocaching – a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure – horseback riding and hunting.
As part of the improvements, a new online reservation system for booking campgrounds will be ready for use beginning in May.
Parks advocates such as the Alberta Wilderness Association and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society are already critical of the new plan, saying it contains no target for the number of new parks to be created or a specific percentage of what land needs to be set aside.