Minden, March 13, 2019 – On March 13th the SG Nesbitt Community Centre in Minden was packed with OHV enthusiasts. The meeting was initiated to address parking concerns but when the notice of the closure of the “Scotch Pine Trail (SPT)” slipped out the OHV gang was quick to react. The talk of parking was completely overshadowed by the trail closure. The local mayor, two of the town councilors and the Park Superintendent were in attendance. COHV was represented by Paul Demers and David Grummett.
The Scotch Pine Trail skirts the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Park. By the way, this park is the second largest park in the province only out sized by the mighty Algonquin. However Algonquin is a managed park and the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Park is unmanaged. This is probably why a lot of us have never heard of it.
Topography dictates that the Scotch Pine Trail dips into the park for short distances in 3 places. Locals say the trail is approximately 75 years old as it allowed access to remote hunt camps. The area was declared a park in the late 90’s. Therefore the park was built around the trail.
Park Superintendent Jason Dwyer made a presentation at the meeting and took full responsibility for the trail closure. Reason given was proximity to species at risk. No data was given to support this. No consultation was made with the user groups that use the trail.
The interesting point was the majority of the trail is outside the park and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Park Superintendent. Jason mentioned more than a few times that the decision has been made for 2019. His decision! The groups decided the best response was to basically go over Jason’s head. The mayor and councilors said they would meet with the local MPP & Minister of the Environment & Parks Rod Phillips to try to resolve the closure.
The Scotch Pine Trail is a very popular trail serving the ATV, Side by Side and 4WD enthusiasts. It’s popularity brings a significant economic impact to the area. The 4WD group mentioned that they had raised $75k for the Minden Hospital this year alone. In addition to its recreational value it also provides access to many hunt camps in the park. The closure of the trail is unacceptable without some consultation with the user groups to define and address the issues.
We encourage you to politely support this cause with emails to the following;
MPP (Local) Laurie Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
MPP (Special Advisor for Parks) Dave Smith email@example.com
MPP (Minister of the Environment & Parks) Rod Phillips firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Brent Devolin email@example.com
Director of Communications
Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV)
Office – 416-491-4449 ext 105
Toll Free – 1-877-470-6642
E-mail David Grummett