MLA throws full support behind shared use trails

MLA Linda Larson gave her full-throated approval to mixed use trails at the opening of ATV B.C.’s annual conference held in Princeton on May 4.

“There’s one message,” she said in an interview with The Spotlight. “Absolutely Linda Larson supports mixed use trails.”

Larson said she was thrilled the conference and show were held in Princeton, a community that is currently reviewing the use of its portion of the KVR trail with an eye to opening it to motorized vehicles.

Members named to committee charged with finding solutions to Princeton trail conflict

“I think it’s great that Princeton is hosting,” she said. “Princeton is just the ideal place to hold an ATV event, with all kinds of road and trails.”

Larson addressed 156 BC ATV delegates at the beginning of the meeting.

“I am and always have been a supporter of responsible ATV recreationalists. But I also understand the conflicts between ATV users and other trail users,” she said.

“In some areas conflicts between users have made it extremely difficult for everyone. It is the responsible ATV clubs who continue to try and work with communities and groups to solve local conflicts.”

Princeton ATV Club president Ed Vermette, who is also the chair of the special council committee charged with making recommendations about motorized use of the KVR, characterized Larson’s comments as “awesome.”

He added the theme of the conference, which included numerous guest speakers, was promoting mixed trail use.

Related: Council passes controversial ATV ban

The trade show featured 27 vendors including off road vehicle retailers, tour operators and emergency response teams.

Approximately 1,100 people attended the show over two days.

“It was beyond my expectations. I’m really pleased with the way everything turned out,” said Vermette. “The exhibitors were all extremely happy. They all sold machines.”

Admission to the show was by donation and all money raised will go to the local club’s mixed use trail plans. While Vermette did not have a final tally of the dollars raised “the people were so generous. They were just throwing money in.”

The weekend concluded with a trail ride through Princeton to Coalmont, made possible through a special permit issued by council.

Approximately 58 machines took to the KVR, along with between 80 and 100 riders.

While acknowledging that support for the event was “unbelievable,” Vermette said there was a protest sign placed along the trail.

“There are still going to be people who are not in favor,” he said.

Related: Petitions fights ATV bylaw

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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