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Letter: In support of responsible motorized use of Mount Gardner


I am writing to voice support for true multi-use recreation, the continued responsible off-road vehicle access and stewardship of Mount Gardner by the Bowen Trail Riders Association in partnership with the Province, members of the former Bowen Trails Coalition and other stakeholders.

For some of us, motorized use on Bowen’s Crown lands has been a part of our island identity for decades. With the 2018 formation of the coalition and signing of the section 56 partnership agreements, the Mount Gardner trails have never been in better condition. Bridges, markers and signage have been installed, and trail tread armouring, drainage features, pruning and clearing of blow down along established routes has made the trails more accessible and safer for all to enjoy. Stakeholders have worked together on signage, work parties, trail names, trail etiquette and more.

Many of the trails are based on old logging or mining roads, and frequenters include ATV, dirt bike, equestrian, hiking and mountain bike users. A variety of multi-use single track options and hiking-only routes exist for those who prefer this type of experience.

I know of very little actual conflict on the trails and no accidents relating to motorized use. I see opposition as coming from a small group who wish to see singular trail designation because they do not agree with certain types of recreational activity. 

Most emergency calls on Mount Gardner I have heard of have been related to lost hikers visiting from off-island or hiking related injuries. In fact, most motorized use seems to occur at different times of day and on less popular trails so encounters are few and far between.

Mount Gardner is the largest block of Crown land on Bowen and offers the biggest value to recreational users. Maintaining these trails is a large undertaking and was on course for great success through the Bowen trails coalition during the first three years of the section 56 partnership agreement. I believe that including all relevant stakeholder groups including motorized (BTRA) moving forward is necessary for the upkeep and will provide the best experience for all trail users as well as the most enjoyable, sustainable and well-rounded future for the Mount Gardner recreation polygon.

Through the stewardship of the Mount Gardner trails, Bowen Trail Riders Association has given a lot to the trail community and it is our hope that we are able to continue improving the experience for all trail users moving forward.

Kevan Bernards

President, Bowen Trail Riders Association