Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for February 23, 2012

Manage ORVs, group urges

Several local interest groups are recommending off-road vehicles (ORVs) management to protect the Yukon’s environment.

By Whitehorse Star on February 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Several local interest groups are recommending off-road vehicles (ORVs) management to protect the Yukon’s environment.

In the spring of 2011, the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS) struck a working group of non-governmental organizations to team up to address issues related to ORVs in the environment.

The working group consisted of representatives from six Yukon organizations: the Klondike Snowmobile Association (KSA), Trails Only Yukon Association (TOYA), the Wilderness Tourism Association of Yukon (WTAY), the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS), the Yukon Fish and Game Association (YFGA) and the Yukon Off Road Riders Association (YORRA).

The working group focused on the 2011 Yukon Legislative Assembly Report of the Select Committee on the Safe Operation and Use of Off-road

Recommendations #3, #4, #10 and #14 in the report deal specifically with minimizing the impacts of ORV use on the Yukon natural environment through education, driver training, research and legislation.

All stakeholders in the ORV working group support these four recommendations of the select committee.

In addition, the ORV working group came to consensus on ways to further develop each of these four recommendations.

“A collaborative approach to the project, including a wide range of stakeholders, was important for developing a message to which all interest groups would agree,” said project manager Georgia Greetham, who is with the YCS.

“Now, we have a message we can all use to inform the public on the subject of best practice with ORVs.

“We know we’ve found common ground with most user groups, and this gives us confidence that we are delivering the right message.”

Between the spring of 2011 and winter of 2012, the ORV working group members also developed educational messaging and materials.

The next phase of this project will focus on raising public awareness about how to minimize impacts in the environment through the best practices with ORVs.

“We have a number of educational tools to inform the public about how and where to ride ORVs in a way that respects Yukon wildlife and habitat,” the working group said in a statement.

“Also, we are now in a position to encourage government to adopt ORV management tools on which we all agree.”

Said Greetham: “We are very pleased with the accomplishments of the working group. There are so many complex issues to tackle, and without collaboration we only have polarized views.

“The success of this working group is largely the common ground we have found, and that we have built a framework for collaboration on these issues.

“We hope the Yukon government will implement our recommendations and continue to engage this working group when designing ORV management plans.

“We strongly believe that thoughtful community engagement like this leads to a stronger sense of stewardship among all citizens that enjoy the Yukon environment.”

To see the ORV working group recommendations, visit: http://www.yukonconservation.org

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