BRUCE COUNTY – Bruce County has contracted with James Special Services Inc. to provide enforcement of the county’s forest recreation bylaw.
Bylaw officers will be patrolling the county’s 160 km of trails, including the 80-km Bruce County Rail Trail, to ensure trails are being used safely, visitors are complying with park rules, and users of motorized vehicles have their permits.
“The trails have seen increased use since COVID,” said Amanda Froese, the county’s director of transportation and environmental services, during a recent council meeting.
Many bylaw issues involve property damage and unauthorized trail use, according to Froese. While vandalism (as well as littering and tree removal) is difficult to predict or enforce, “knowledge officers may be present on our trails may deter some individuals from damaging county resources.”
Repairing trails and property infrastructure caused by unauthorized trail users is one of the most time-consuming activities for staff. These repairs can be expensive and quickly exhaust resources and staff time.
Another common issue is compliance with trail permits on motorized trails. Approximately 95 km of the county’s trail network is designated for ATV use by permit and the trails are maintained by the South Bruce Peninsula ATV and the Huron Shores ATV clubs. Permits are sold by the local clubs and the funds from these permits go directly into insurance coverage, trail repairs, signage, and rider education on county lands.
The ATV clubs are partly funding the county’s pilot enforcement program.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times