It would be nice not to have to write any more editorials about people who defile our great outdoors. The day the desecration ends will be cause for celebration but let’s not raise our expectations that it will happen any time soon.
The latest example was the subject of a front-page story Tuesday about concern for a grasslands area near 13th Avenue. Kamloops Naturalists Club member Frank Dwyer raised it, pointing out that young mountain cyclists have been destroying it not just through carelessness but by design.
Building jumps, bumps and ramps is a popular exercise for such kids. Looking on the bright side, one could say the fact they’re willing to put so much energy and physical labour into anything is a good sign.
In truth, though, it’s an inexcusable destruction of environment. They find a likely place to practice their passion, and dig out holes and create mounds so they can enjoy the challenge of negotiating them on their bicycles.
As they engage in their “sport,” they crush the grass and other natural vegetation, and gouge the ground, ruining it for all-time. Then they move on to a new area and start all over again.
“When they’re disturbed, they’re not going to come back,” says City parks operations supervisor Shawn Cook of these ecologically sensitive areas. “It’s not just the jump, it’s the trail to ride up to the jump and a trail to land on. It’s a huge impact….”
But let’s not blame it all on the kids. Adults are just as bad, if not worse, in their treatment of paradise. Formerly beautiful grasslands all around the perimeter of the city are permanently scarred by the tire tracks of 4X4s, dirt bikes and ATVs.
Just last week it came to light that offroaders have been destroying signs in several recreational areas that notify the public of a ban on motorized vehicles. Instead of understanding the problem and contributing to the solution, these yahoos take out their frustration on signs.
If there’s an answer to this, no one seems to have found it yet. There’s always talk of “educating” the public about the need to respect this gift we’ve been blessed with, but it’s apparent that learning bad habits starts young.
The other tool is the court system, but you have to catch them first.
The real answer is elusive, but let’s hope we find it before the only thing left of our grasslands is before-and-after pictures.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.