Vandalism, motorized vehicle usage a growing problem for protected P.E.I. trail

·2 min read
Amy Frost-Wicks, the land stewardship program manager with The Island Nature Trust, says the trust has been struggling with increased ATV, dirtbike and snowmobile usage in a protected site. (Nicola MacLeod/CBC - image credit)
Amy Frost-Wicks, the land stewardship program manager with The Island Nature Trust, says the trust has been struggling with increased ATV, dirtbike and snowmobile usage in a protected site. (Nicola MacLeod/CBC - image credit)

Signs and cameras have been unsuccessful in keeping motorized vehicles off of a natural protected site on Prince Edward Island, says the Island Nature Trust.

The trail on the Hessian Farm Natural Area, a 28-hectare site under the protection of the trust outside of Georgetown, is not meant for motorized vehicles, said Amy Frost-Wicks, the land stewardship program manager.

The Island Nature Trust has even handed over camera footage to the RCMP after three of four cameras were stolen, and one was tampered with but recovered.

"We did catch the person on film trying to kind of turn the camera away from the trail," said Frost-Wicks.

Although the public is welcome to explore the site on foot, ATVs, dirtbikes and snowmobiles are prohibited under the island's Natural Areas Protection Act, she said.

Submitted by the Island Nature Trust
Submitted by the Island Nature Trust

"That also includes not allowing campfires and not allowing the cutting of any wood or vegetation, so unfortunately, all of those things are things that we've been seeing here," Frost-Wicks said.

She said using vehicles on the trail can cause erosion.

Submitted by the Island Nature Trust
Submitted by the Island Nature Trust

"They can also introduce non-native species like invasive plants coming from their tires," Frost-Wicks said.

The land was private property until it was donated to the trust. In a social media post, the nature trust said some "natural area" signs were removed and destroyed.

Frost-Wicks said the nature trust manages 2,400 hectares of protected area with a small number of staff and volunteers. She said it's expensive installing signage and bringing in rocks and fences to block off paths for motorized vehicles.

"As a charity, we also don't have a whole lot of extra income to kind of manage for things like this," Frost-Wicks said.

She said the trust doesn't have anything against people using ATVs or motorized vehicles, "but it would be nice if they could stick to designated trails in designated areas for that rather than going in a protected natural area."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting