Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Patrols increased to prevent intentional damage to Crown lands

“In recent years, spring damage to Crown roads by recreational vehicles has become an increasing concern and required expensive repairs due to rutting and damage to drainage ditches,” said Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup. “This damage has environmental as well as financial costs because rutting redirects water into streams, causing siltation and loss of fish habitat, as well as fish mortality.”

Staff will focus enforcement efforts on mud runs, where participants intentionally seek soft roads in order to test the limits of their vehicles.

Anglers and individuals using the roads to get to their camps or properties are not being targeted.

Conservation officers are empowered to issue ministerial orders for vehicle operators to leave an area until the roads have dried. Under the authority of the Crown Lands and Forests Act, some areas that are prone to damage may be posted with signs restricting vehicle use during the spring thaw period.

Failure to comply with a ministerial order or signage posted under the authority of the act may result in charges. Depending upon the charge, a conviction can result in fines of $140 to $500 for a first offence, and restoration of the site.

The department urges recreational vehicle enthusiasts to use Crown roads responsibly this spring and to be mindful of damage to publicly-owned property.

Anyone with information on wilful damage to Crown roads or any other incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online.