Dave Wasserman pointed out in his recent letter to Minister Ady that the Praxis Park User Survey shows quite conclusively that Albertans on the whole want less OHV use in provincial parks and protected areas, while Alberta’s Plan for Parks states that more OHV areas should be provided.
Here is the Minister’s response. You will note that the plan’s inconsistency with the survey results are not dealt with.
Dear Mr. Wasserman: Thank you for your letter of January 30, 2009 regarding Alberta’s Plan for Parks, and specifically your association’s concerns about off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in provincial parks. I appreciate the opportunity to provide you with the following information.
There is a growing demand for motorized recreation opportunities in Alberta and therefore the need to formalize motorized recreation trails is a priority for the Government of Alberta. My ministry is working closely with colleagues from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development to determine where motorized recreation opportunities are best provided on public lands. My ministry’s Parks Division is also looking at how motorized recreation will be addressed in parks. It will identify locations for new campgrounds and staging areas that will be constructed to specifically address the needs of motorized recreation. These staging areas will provide access points to designated trails networks on both public land and in some parks, in keeping with classification restrictions.
However, I would like to reassure you that it is not the intent of Alberta’s Plan for Parks to open all parks to motorized recreation. Parks will continue to provide safe, secure opportunities for families to relax and recreate in natural surroundings while also determining opportunities to address new forms of recreation.
Recreation groups will have opportunities to be directly involved in the designation, development and maintenance of these trail networks. This involvement will be closely coordinated with the work of the Recreation Corridors Coordinating Committee.
Alberta’s Plan for Parks is closely linked to the Government of Alberta’s Land-use Framework. The Land-use Framework sets out to develop seven regional plans where provincial government, municipal government, Aboriginal community representatives, industry, non-government groups and other relevant planning bodies come together to determine the best land use decisions within their region. Tourism, Parks and Recreation staff will carry the feedback and knowledge, identified by Albertans during Alberta’s Plan for Park consultation, into these regional planning initiatives.
I will be taking Alberta’s Plan for Parks forward for government approval. This document is a result of the passion shown, and the knowledge shared, by stakeholders, partners, Aboriginal communities and Government of Alberta staff. The support of the participants involved in the development of this document is an important step in working together to manage our provincial parks.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support of Alberta’s parks.
Sincerely, Cindy Ady Minister