A dirt biker races through a treed path during a harescramble race in Whitehorse on Sep. 19, 2020. The Yukon government has launched an Off-Road Vehicle Management Area Regulation to combat the environmental impacts of all-terrain vehicles. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

A dirt biker races through a treed path during a harescramble race in Whitehorse on Sep. 19, 2020. The Yukon government has launched an Off-Road Vehicle Management Area Regulation to combat the environmental impacts of all-terrain vehicles. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Off-road vehicles restricted in three management areas

The Yukon government has launched an Off-Road Vehicle Management Area Regulation to combat the environmental impacts of quads and similar vehicles.

“Off-road vehicles give Yukoners access to the backcountry for work, hunting and recreation, and this access may have impacts on sensitive terrain and habitats,” said Ranj Pillai, minister of energy, mines and resources, in a press release.

The new regulations are intended to protect the landscape while still allowing off-road vehicles to traverse the Yukon, Pillai said.

The regulations affect quads, side-by-sides, mini-bikes, dirt bikes and water vehicles.

Under the regulation, three management areas have been outlined where off-road vehicle use is restricted: the Ddhaw Ghro Habitat Protection Area between the Pelly and Stewart Rivers; the West Hart River region of the Peel Watershed; and alpine areas at elevations higher than 1,400 metres.

The management areas designate where off-road vehicles can be used year-round as well as seasonal restrictions.

Snowmobiles are not restricted in these three areas.

Outside the management areas, Yukoners are free to continue using off-road vehicles on existing trails and roads.

New off-road management areas may be created depending on land-use planning and habitat protection areas.

Governments and other groups can submit a proposal identifying sensitive areas that could benefit from vehicle restrictions. The Yukon government will not begin accepting proposals until Jan. 29, 2022.

The new regulation also allows for temporary restrictions to protect sensitive areas.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

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