Conservation plan for southern Alberta worries 4x4 enthusiasts

Four-by-four users in southern Alberta are worried about losing access to terrain if a new provincial land use plan is approved.

South Saskatchewan Regional Plan would restrict off-road recreation

Four-by-four enthusiasts are worried that the Alberta government's South Saskatchewan Regional Plan will deprive them of terrain to ride on. (Canadian Press)

Four-by-four users in southern Alberta are worried about losing access to terrain if a new provincial land use plan is approved.

One group has collected thousands of signatures protesting the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, which sets out a 50-year vision for managing land and water use from just north of Airdrie south to the U.S. border.

If the plan goes ahead it would create new parks — including the new Wildland Provincial Park on the eastern slopes — expand conservation areas and protect more rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands.

Darryl Ferguson, chair of the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad, said it would also make some off-roading trails off limits.

“What we’re looking at is the trails we have developed in the south part of Alberta. A lot of these trails were designated trails … a lot of money spent on putting the trails in, a lot of hours of volunteers,” he said.

The organization’s petition has 15,000 signatures so far, Ferguson said.

The area the group is most concerned about stretches from the U.S. border up to Kananaskis Country, he said.

Final online public consultations on the plan wrap up Nov. 28, after which a final draft will be written and submitted to the provincial cabinet for approval.

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