Off Road Vehicles: Recreation or Wreckreation? The Challenges of Protecting Fragile Ecosystems


November 19, 2015 :: Anna Garleff & Becky Cousins
Moderated by Curtis Goodman

Off highway vehicles (OHV) pose a unique challenge to our watershed when balancing land use for recreation, tourism, and the environment. OHVs can be an exciting way for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy public land. However, irresponsible OHV activity can upset the delicate balance of natural areas through lasting damage to the landscape including: soil compaction, contamination, and erosion; loss of vegetation; wildfires; wildlife disruption; disturbance to streambeds; disruption of ecosystems via invasive species.
Off trail activity often goes unreported and causes incalculable damage. How do we reconcile the destruction caused by illegal OHV activity? The speakers will argue that more needs to be done to educate and increase awareness of the issues of OHV.
Speakers: Anna Garleff & Becky Cousins
Anna Garleff, Communications Specialist with the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC), will take us through a tour of the headwaters during the 2015 summer. The OWC piloted its Engaging Recreationists program, hiring two Outreach Assistants and a Headwaters Consultant for program design and analysis. There were a few surprises along the way, much beauty and some heartbreak. The summer ended with the provincial government announcing two new parks in the Castle region. What does that mean for OHV use? What is the OWC doing to further engage recreationists – and indeed, all stakeholders in the conversations around watershed management and health?
Becky Cousins is an outdoor enthusiast and an active member of the Lethbridge Naturalists’ Society, Helen Schuler Nature Centre volunteer team, Chinook Outdoor Club, and the Lethbridge Archaeologists’ Society. Her personal experience and first-hand accounts of the OHV activity in natural areas like Six Mile Coulee have led to increased preservation efforts of our local natural heritage. Becky wants an end to OHV activity in city parks and is campaigning for protection of Alexander Wilderness Park.
Moderator: Curtis Goodman

Date: Thursday, November 19, 2015
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A)
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (lower level of the Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea at the presentation)


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