Why should my rights and freedoms be denied because of the reckless few?

Prince George visitor wonders why ATV and snowmobile riders might be banned from Telkwa Range areas.

Editor,

First issue, please allow me to thank all those involved in the field work, research and reporting on the continued effort to save the still dwindling caribou herd that reside in the Telkwa Range. It is all of our responsibilities to save our wildlife neighbors.

From what information I gathered from the public meetings that I attended, the number one reason for the herd numbers declining is not being addressed. That reason being the increasing numbers of predators that have moved into the area frequented by the caribou herd. These predators being moose, elk, deer, and mostly wolves.

What is being suggested and recommended by some is that the area be closed to or at least limiting access to the area by motorized vehicles, predominantly snow machines (winter season) and ATVs (rest of the year). Motorized vehicle traffic will not affect the herd as much as the number one reason. The area and herd will not be disturbed by “Responsible People.”

My right as a citizen of this country and province to have access to public lands and property and its responsible use is at risk and question. In my opinion, more and more of these public areas are being closed to responsible users. These public areas are being closed on the recommendation of individuals hiding behind the guise of special interest groups. In my opinion, these public areas and all the wildlife that reside there will not be harmed by responsible use. There will always be the reckless few that are destroying these areas by their reckless antics. Why should my rights and freedoms be denied because of the reckless few?

The responsible use of ATVs and snow machines should be promoted, rather than having their access denied. A study should be conducted as to how much financial benefit is produced for local areas by the motorized vehicle public. This study should include not just the direct purchase of said machines but more so the indirect benefits as well. I have heard over the years from many communities that tourism should be promoted to support the local economies, that tourism will be the saving grace to all economies. Here we have the opportunity to do so.

I travel frequently to quad the roadways of the Bulkley Valley back country from my home town of Prince George. I spend money on food and gas to get to and from the Bulkley Valley. Then while I am there, usually for an extended weekend, I spend money again for gas for my quad, food for myself during my stay as well as at least a couple of nights at one of the local motels or hotels or campgrounds.

Why would I destroy the area that I have come to love and appreciate both for its beauty and the wildlife it contains? There is room for the responsible use of motorized vehicles in these areas.

My rights as a citizen will not be denied.

Mernie G Furst

Prince George

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