Recently, I was hiking in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park with some friends when we came across a sight we could not believe.
The same gouging of new trails in the park we have seen in many recent years. All happening since the province handed over the maintenance of the park trails to the North Okanagan Cycling Society.
We came across another new trail, made without any notice to the general public, in the park, that is home to the endangered rattlesnake and within mere feet of two already existing hiking/biking trails and a road.
Since this group has been given the right to make trails, the amount of pristine park area is dwindling and the habitat for nature, reptiles and animals is also shrinking to the point, where there is no longer respite from human intervention in vast areas of the park.
One would ask why the government continually allows trails to be carved through the park with no input from the general public or environmental assessments done.
The only conclusion, many of us seem to have, is that the government cares little about the environmental protection of such a jewel, as long as it can shirk its responsibilities.
My question is, with all of the Crown land within minutes of a drive east, where cyclists could be making hundreds of trails, and they could ride without having to deal with hikers and horseback riders, free to dig as many trails as they wish, why does the government insist that they continue to cede land, to make more and more trails with no concern to the overall conservation, of such a jewel, as Kal park?
I am not blaming the cyclists.
They approach the government and the government, without any regard to the overall long-term conservation of the park, gives them what they ask for.
They could be given the response of no from such authority but it does not seem this will ever be likely.
It seems our government has even less regard for this park as it continually allows the building of new trails.
Where the latest trail is located, there was already bike access. It seems no part of the park is sacred.
To those who were concerned about the widening of the road, go take a good look at the ever increasing trails built within the parks and you may find it to be as much as a detriment, to the preservation of the environment and wildlife.
So I ask the government to have environmental assessments done before any destruction of the park.
Also, I ask it be brought to the attention of the general public.
Certain aspects of the government are supposed to protect such places yet it seems they pay little to no attention to what is going on. Having multiple trails built within a small area is not preserving the environment.
The City of Kelowna had to do massive restoration and repairs to Knox Mountain because of the ever increasing damage from bikes and hikers who created multiple trails within feet of each other.
Maybe before it costs the province a loss of such a jewel, we could look at having the bikers drive 10 minutes out towards the base of the Aberdeen Plateau where the government could cede them endless miles of potential riding trails.
Thus ensuring the protection of the park and the wildlife that exists within its boundaries.
This was done above Ellison Provincial Park and the people who ride there seem quite happy with such a gift.