Riverdale trail plan raises worries

The City of Whitehorse is conducting another survey on motorized multi-use trail designation for the East Yukon River or Riverdale area. Whitehorse residents and trail users are invited to participate in that survey.

The City of Whitehorse is conducting another survey on motorized multi-use trail designation for the East Yukon River or Riverdale area. Whitehorse residents and trail users are invited to participate in that survey. A portion of the survey is for Riverdale residents only. The deadline for responding is Oct. 4, 2013.

The Active Trails Whitehorse Association has several concerns about the survey’s proposed motorized multi-use trails. We would like to bring the public’s attention to trail designation guidelines from previous city consultation processes.

Excerpt from the Riverdale Neighbourhood Plan’s section on the questionnaire outcomes: “Motorized recreational vehicles (ATVs, snowmobiles) were identified as a major point of contention in the community. Many feel disturbed by motorized activity and identify it as a safety issue, particularly in regards to children. The consensus seems to be that laws regarding these vehicles are not being respected and must be more stringently enforced.”

“Furthermore, trails need to be strongly designated as motorized or non-motorized. Many also expressed concern regarding the erosion of trails, and general environmental damage caused by these vehicles.”

Excerpt from the Official Community Plan’s section on motorized recreation: “Many residents of Whitehorse enjoy motorized recreation, such as ATVs and snow machines. However, not all residents appreciate motorized vehicles on local walking and skiing trails. To avoid conflict between motorized and non-motorized trail users, the City Parks & Recreation Master Plan and Trail Plan recommend the idea of “out and away” trails. These trails would be designated for motorized use, allowing those residents routes to get away from the local green space and into the larger hinterland, where they will not be a nuisance to non-motorized users.”

“Where feasible, consideration shall be made to separate multi-use trails (which accommodate motorized and non-motorized recreation) from non-motorized trails. Future multi-use trail development shall avoid environmentally sensitive areas wherever possible.”

The trail plan recommends the creation of a map of “out and away” trails for motorized recreation vehicle usage. This map shall be designed to strongly discourage the use of all terrain vehicles on non-motorized trails and in environmentally sensitive areas.

The above plans are available from the City of Whitehorse website, as well as EYR survey information: www.whitehorse.ca/trails

ATWA fully supports “out and away” trails for motorized vehicles as conceived in the Whitehorse Official Community Plan. We are concerned, however, that several of the trails currently proposed for motorized multi-use designation in the East Yukon River area do not support this concept but rather would allow recreational motorized vehicle use on sections of ski trails, within local green spaces and close to residential areas.

For further information about these issues, visit ATWA’s website: www.activetwa.org

Dorothy Lebel

Director

Active Trails

Whitehorse Association