Nfld. & Labrador

Snowmobilers protesting park ban

Residents from the eastern Newfoundland community of Charlottetown were protesting on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway Thursday morning.

They want access to part of Terra Nova National Park

Snowmobiling is prohibited in Terra Nova National park. (CBC)

Residents from the eastern Newfoundland community of Charlottetown were protesting on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway Thursday morning. They want Parks Canada to allow them to use snowmobiles in part of Terra Nova National Park.

The Charlottetown residents tried to make it difficult for park employees to report to work.

They were demanding a meeting with senior federal government officials about snowmobiling on a corridor between their small town and a network of trails outside the park. It’s illegal to use snowmobiles in Terra Nova Park.

One of the organizers said Parks Canada is discriminating against Charlottetown residents by allowing snowmobiling in Gros Morne National Park, in western Newfoundland.

"Maybe we should take this to a judge under the human rights act and try and get this trail back to the people of Charlottetown," said Robin Spracklin.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent had promised to meet with residents. He dropped that plan in early March after four people were charged in connection with a protest against the ban.

Six charges were laid under the Canada National Parks Act: three for damaging and destroying flora in a park and three for operating a snow machine in a park without a permit.

Four additional charges have been laid under the Criminal Code for obstructing a person making a legal seizure in a park.

All those charges relate to incidents Feb. 6, when officials were stopped  from seizing snowmobiles they believed were being used illegally in the park.

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