Will Porkies remain open for riding?

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meierk
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Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby meierk » Fri May 27, 2016 10:08 am

Have a friend that lives in Lethbridge and rides Porkies almost exclusively. He is connected with the farmers and ranchers in the area and has heard that the ranchers want to shut down access to the Porkies for offroad use. I'm not sure how much pull the ranchers have, but has anyone else heard this? Is this just wishful thinking or rants from the ranchers or could we actually lose the Porkies?

Cheers!
Kevin

Will Porkies remain open for riding?

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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby cedric » Fri May 27, 2016 10:24 am

This kind of thing is going on everywhere there are people riding dirt bikes, quads, etc. People who live nearby think they "own" the land and want access shut down to anyone who is not them. The need to oppose these people is ongoing and the main reason I'm a part of this club, as the RMDRA is always working to keep riding areas open. That being said, the Porkies area is only on the periphery of the RMDRA's focus. The government is currently reviewing the Porkies area, there was a public survey last fall. Hopefully the future of Porkies includes dirt bike riding.

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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby meierk » Fri May 27, 2016 10:44 am

I hope there is a future as well as I ride the Porkies 95% of the time.

Do you have any links to the government survey or other information?

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RJHenry
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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby RJHenry » Fri May 27, 2016 9:00 pm

While there are certainly folks with views on all sides of the issues (and loud voices), closure to motorized recreation is an extreme outcome - and one of which good participation from our community can really reduce the risk.

The Porcupine Hills and Livingston Range Public Land Use Zones are in the midst of a process of Land Use Planning. RMDRA members are participating in this process including, as recently as yesterday, attending workshops and consultation sessions with Alberta Environment and Parks and many other stakeholders.

This process is the first implementation of the framework contained in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) which has three key drivers for Linear Footprint and Recreation Management Planning:
1) Achieving the objectives for biodiversity;
2) Achieving the objectives for healthy functioning ecosystems; and
3) Ensuring there is a comprehensive recreation system across the eastern slopes.

The first two workshops have been focussed on linear footprint philosophy and the modelling of the value of individual planning units in terms of various species habitat, wildlife connectivity, surface water, etc. The third workshop, scheduled for June 8 in Pincher Creek, addresses Recreation Management Planning.

I observe that Alberta Environment and Parks is doing a good job of listening to all stakeholders - including the motorized recreation community - and has a workable plan to make a consultative decision that balances the many competing needs. The solutions contemplated so far include efforts to limit the density of man made linear disturbance (roads, trails, cutblock edges, lease site edges, etc.) and to "trade off" various areas in the PLUZ to leave high value landscapes less impacted by activities of man while allowing more concentrated uses in other areas.

It is highly likely that the future will include designated trail systems, increased levels of user education and engagement, and quite honestly an appropriate level of enforcement. These factors will not lead to closing of riding areas, but will lead to a lighter footprint and more sustainable recreation - ecologically and politically! I don't think we are going to be shut out, but I don't think we are going to have a free for all either - which is not a bad thing.

Here are some links:
https://landuse.alberta.ca/Pages/default.aspx
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/55775efbe4b02c5614691727/t/56f9d2f6e321402cf7c9c15b/1459213342554/160309_Holding+the+Reins_Final.pdf

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or would like to get involved - we try to cover all of the meetings, but more attendees is always better!

RJH
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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby cedric » Fri May 27, 2016 11:28 pm

Thanks for the update Robert!

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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby meierk » Sat May 28, 2016 10:21 pm

Great update Robert. Thanks for taking to time to put that together.

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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby Spinalguy » Mon May 30, 2016 3:43 pm

This is what we are always up against...
http://www.producer.com/2016/03/limiting-access-part-of-repair-plan-for-alta-watershed/


Limiting access part of repair plan for Alta. watershed
Sensitive zones may be reduced to foot traffic only, while others may have designated trails


FORT MACLEOD, Alta. — Maps of the roads and trails along the eastern slopes of the Rockies within the Oldman River watershed look no more organized than a plate of spaghetti.

Roads made for forestry, oil and gas exploration and transmission lines criss-cross with trails made by campers, off-highway vehicle users and cattle herds.

Such “linear disturbances,” as they are called by the mappers, have harmed habitat for wildlife, native plants and trout and increased soil erosion into waterways that affect downstream water quality.

The province is now starting a process to reduce the linear footprint in sensitive areas and develop a recreation plan that will provide access guidelines for campers, off highway vehicle riders and other users of public lands.

Heather Sinton, the provincial environment department’s director for land and environment planning in the south region, said the process will begin in the Porcupine Hills of southwestern Alberta and then address the nearby Livingstone region.

The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, completed in July 2014, indicated the need for plans to reduce disturbance in those areas, Sinton told a March 10 Holding the Reins conference in Fort Macleod, Alta.

“We need users to understand what they can do, where and when,” she said about the multiple interests that access the region.

Sinton said the department hopes to have a draft plan to reduce linear disturbance by summer, followed by public consultation. A recreation plan will follow.

The plans are likely to result in regulations limiting access in some areas.

“Basically we’re thinking that access will be quite limited. In fact, in the critical zones, it might just be foot access,” she said in an interview after her presentation.

“In the enhanced zone, we’re thinking that it would be what they call mandatory integrated land management. So we would be looking for users to co-operate.”

As an example of the latter, she said forestry companies and energy companies seeking access to the same area would be asked to share a road rather than each building separate access.

A third zone, the general management zone, would have fewer restrictions and likely allow motorized recreation on designated trails.

“We will be designating trails for different types of use and closing other areas.”

Along with that would come increased enforcement, she added. Ways to provide sustainable funding for enforcement are being considered.

Ideas such as permit fees to access public land or a tax on certain users have been put forward, but Sinton said there will be opportunity for public input into funding solutions.

Bruce Mowat of the Livingstone Landowners Guild lives in the Porcupine Hills where the first plans are targeted.

He said he welcomed the provincial initiative.

“We’re encouraged that they’re working on the project,” he said.

“We’re just hoping that they follow through with it and something is done because these (plans) have been done before and the follow up, there’s no enforcement or no management.”

The guild comprises private property owners in the upper Oldman River drainage area. It recently called on the province to restrict off-highway vehicle use on private land in addition to public land.

“Although motorized recreation is enjoyed by less than five percent of Alberta’s population, it has vastly disproportionate effects on the quality of our native vegetation, community watersheds, fisheries, wildlife and recreational opportunities for the much larger number of Albertans who enjoy public lands on foot and horseback,” the groups said in their communiqué.

They expressed concern about off highway vehicle users trespassing on private lands and grazing leases, stress to cattle in public land grazing permit areas, displacement of wildlife from public land, spread of weeds, reduced groundwater recharge and more wear and tear on roads.

Cheryl Bradley of the Porcupine Hills Coalition and the Southern Alberta Group for the Environment (SAGE) said studies in the region have illustrated the stress imposed by so many different users on the landscape.

She urged the province to consider those studies in its future plans.

SAGE chair Braum Barber said in a March 9 news release that it is time to place strict limits on linear footprint and OHV use.

“It is unreasonable to continue to retain linear footprint from past logging and other industrial developments and to accommodate OHV use in our headwaters, given the risks posed to our source waters and to the use and enjoyment of eastern slopes wild lands by the majority of Oldman basin residents.”

Sinton said workshops are planned in southern Alberta to discuss linear footprint reduction and the recreational plan. They will not be advertised, but she said anyone who has expressed interest in the past will be contacted.

Alternatively, she can be contacted at 403-297-3628 for more information.
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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby vwrally » Mon May 30, 2016 5:33 pm

Reading that made my blood boil. The headline might as well be "land owners attempt massive public land grab in the Oldman watershed".

This bs from those residents is the same thing that stopped the annual Rocky Mountain Rally in the Porkies as well.

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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby AJRJ » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:36 am

Well, it's not looking good....

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RJHenry
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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby RJHenry » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:48 pm

AJRJ wrote:Well, it's not looking good....

Perhaps not - but it is not as bad as one article makes it out be either. The shrill voices may promote hatred and division, we are working for a bigger picture - for our community and all Albertans.
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Re: Will Porkies remain open for riding?

Postby axel99 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:52 am

As an example of the latter, she said forestry companies and energy companies seeking access to the same area would be asked to share a road rather than each building separate access.
- Building and maintaining access roads is a major cost in any industry. Road use sharing agreements make economic sense regardless of enviromental concerns and are already very common.

for the much larger number of Albertans who enjoy public lands on foot and horseback
- I disagree there are not a significant percentage of albertans that recreate on public land on horse back. Most of albertas population live in the cities, I know very few people that live in the cities and recreate with horses on public lands.

Until you see a signifcant amount of resources invested in detailed mapping, classification of current linerar disturbance inventory and objective analytical environmental studies. The groverment does not currently have a plan nor can they create one that allows reasonable access that really supports conservation on the eastern slopes, short of huge access restrictions.
I say this based on 2 facts:
- One of the largest contributiors to "liner Disturbance" inventory has been seismic lines. Histroically this disturbace inventory has been compiled using data compiled from as far back as the 50's and includes hand cut siesmic lines. There was a flurry of seismic activity in this era that resulted in alot of handcut seismic lines that have since been fully relaimed by natural vegitation growth. If you remove linear disturbances that have been reclaimed by nature over the last 50 years the linear distrubance map looks much different.
- Sustainble access networks cannot be designed, developed or managed without a accurate asbuilt of the current inventory.

The challange of measureing environmental effect is the establishment of a baseline for measurement, change is a realtive measure from a baseline, to study the observed effect and draw conclusions. The scope of eastern slopes environment is not a classroom science project. I don't think the baseline exists so it all becomes very subjective argument around the real environmental impact of any stakeholders activity. Especially when you consider change is normal and we all have different perspectives.

The goverments response is likley, to leverage zone desiginations based on the loudest lobbied perceptions and not fact, that will in turn drive blanket closures to OHV access. Plublic land user fees are coming, hopefully SRD realize the current regulations are driving money out of government coffers and into private insurance companies and see a option to redirect these monies.
#Z3B

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