A government plan to make three forested areas surrounding Logan Lake a destination for off-road vehicles is meeting continued resistance from some residents.
A meeting was held Friday to show the final draft of a plan for dedicated trail networks at Forge Mountain, Face-Paska lakes and Logan Lake south.
There was a clear divide between the 25 people attending the meeting in Kamloops: one side wants to legitimize an activity that's already happening while the other would like to push the noisy, ground-chewing machines somewhere else.
"It looks like they're kicking out the fishermen and bringing in the quads," said Norm Chadderton.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource operations wants to control an activity even opponents admit is already happening around Logan Lake — an easy three-hour drive from the Lower Mainland and its 30,000 ATVs.
"It's been used for 20 years by the motorized community and it's growing," said Noelle Kekula, a recreation officer with the ministry. "It's become a destination."
Following closure of three popular grassland areas last year, the province hired a consultant to come up with a plan for a series of mapped, designated and signed trails in the three areas around Logan Lake.
The plan also allows the municipality to develop trail linkages and camping areas if it wants to bring the riders and their machines right into town — something that remains a controversial idea within the community.
Those in the room Friday who don't like the plans were opposed on general grounds but did not focus opposition on any particular aspect of the plan. A final version will be circulated this spring. There is no timetable for designation or signage.
The trail system would have more than 200 kilometres of potential riding, including on old forest and mining roads and purpose-built trails. In some cases, the plan moves riders away from lakes in order to minimize conflicts.
If adopted, the riding area will be one of only a handful in B.C. and the closest one to the largest population of riders in the province.
While there are divisions in the community, all are united in the desire for licencing of machines. The B.C. Liberal government has resisted that measure, despite its own promises and years of pressure from a number of groups, including riders themselves.
"You say rider responsibility?" asked Connie Scott, who operates a bed and breakfast in the area.
"They've proven again and again they're not responsible... . Your idea is a good one but you need the damn things licenced."
Bill French, president of Highland Valley Outdoor Association, said he's concerned about potential safety impact from riders crossing near a shooting range as well as damage from riders who travel illegally on the community's nordic trail system.
"Side-by-side ATVs are the size of a small SUV. That's what frightens us in wintertime with our ski trails."