Trail groups split on all-terrain vehicle use
The New Brunswick Trail Council has lost a key partner because it refuses to agree to allow motorized vehicles to use the trails.
The provincial trail organization received about 10 per cent of its funding and some marketing from the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, a group trying to build a trail system from Newfoundland to British Columbia.
Poul Jorgensen is the executive director of the New Brunswick Trail Council, and says the trails are meant to be used by horses, walkers and cyclists, but now the national group wants to expand the trails' function to all-terrain vehicles something he couldn't accept.
Jorgensen says ATVs would make the trails unsafe for everyone else. "A lot of this trail could wind up as motorized trail, which is dead against our principles, so as of March 31st, they have torn up our agreement with them," he said.
But New Brunswick All-Terrain-Vehicle Federation member Larry Sovey can't understand what the problem is, and looks forward to being a part of a national trail network that can be used by all groups.
"When you're driving down the road through town and there's a pedestrian who wants to cross the street, the pedestrian has the right of way and you're supposed to stop. And we don't see the kerfuffle for doing the same on a dirt road or bush road or trail, or whatever."
Trans Canada Trail regional coordinator Jacques Nadeau says his group is simply enlarging its representation to build more trails in remote areas. He says the NB Trail Council is still welcome to be part of the group.
"We want all the trail groups to come together and try to find a solution to complete the Trans Canada Trail by 2010. This hasn't happened before, and we see it as a positive thing, to bring all the groups together. It also makes sense to share, there's a challenge right now to build trails in the remote, unpopulated areas where you might not find a lot of walkers."
He says no new trails have been built in New Brunswick since 1999, and the group wants to more than double the length of the Trans Canada Trail in this province by 2010.