Milestone Land Access Agreement Reached
Saturday, 16 February 2013 21:41
VMTA Negotiates Private Land Trail Access Agreement
Some 10 months ago the Board of Directors of the VMTA were wrestling with the notion of the increasingly limited access to trails on the north side of Vedder Mountain. Some of this limitation to access was as a result of increasing hostilities of land developers to those who pose a risk to their ability to pursue their right to develop properties for profit.
In some cases recreationists have played a large role in not mitigating some of the landowners concerns. There are areas that are frequented by some unsavoury types who are not primarily interested in recreational pursuits but in finding an awesome "party area". This has fostered a sort of wild-west mentality in these areas where illegal dumping, fires and general property destruction has ensued. We legit recreationists have been dealt a virtual black-eye in all this and are left looking very bad in the eyes of private property owners. Their remedy??? To ban us from accessing trails that requires crossing their property.
On the north side of Vedder there remains only one crown land access point to trails; this being the exit of the Duck Farm Loop Trail. The entrance for this trail has been accessed by passing along the uphill double-track trail that crosses private property off the Old Yale Wagon Road. This property has suffered some of the same fate I have outlined above. With a concern that we might be tarred with the same brush as the "bad eggs" we elected to approach the private land owners with a proposal. We proposed that the landowners recognize that many legitimate recreational trail users crossing their property daily and with this in mind we wanted to find out what their concerns were with this and we wanted to be proactive in acting to mitigate their concerns and help reduce the likelihood of property damage in exchange for an agreement that would entrench access across their property. After months of meetings and negotiations with very kind and agreeable landowners, we as of October came to an access agreement. Our agreement would see VMTA in conjunction with BC Government (Rec Sites BC) erect signs indicating Private Property under the terms of usage agreed to by the property owners. The access would be multi-use and include motorized and non-motorized use with the limitations as expressed by the owners. VMTA agreed to deactivate all illegal single track trails constructed on their property and rehabilitate these area and we agreed to improve some of the drainage issues along the roadway that we as recreationists would have invariably contributed to.
The first step in meeting our obligations took place today when I personally installed the first of the official signs at the entrance to the uphill roadway onto the private property. This was a real milestone in that it stands as tangible proof that these kinds of agreements can be reached with thoughtful and persistent action on our part and with respectful interactions with landowners. This in no way ensures that with the sale of private properties that new owners will be as agreeable, kind and generous towards us recreationists. Despite this, we must count this as a victory, a milestone and a template for considerate future interactions with private landowners.
Mark Steinebach, President