The Coalition for the Licensing and Registration of Off-Road Vehicles in British Columbia (ORV Coalition) was created to enhance off-road vehicle (ORV) management in the province by proposing an efficient method to license and to register ORV and management plans to the government in order to reach concrete legislative modification. The Coalition gathered eleven organizations representing recreational, conservation and ranch interests.
In the 1970’s the Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Act was established but it was not edited since then. Furthermore, this Act affects only snowmobiles use and de facto does not include ORV registration or licencing. The multiple reasons explaining the necessity of those regulations can be found in the original document. They encompass environmental, social and economic interests.
Globally, the Coalition was created to address the issues associated with ORV activities expansion and aims to enhance and to preserve both ORV recreational activities, that have important economical value, and the environment by mitigating impacts on ecosystems (especially sensitive ones), on wildlife and on economical or resource use activities without restraining positive effects of ORV activities. The coalition is convinced that the process to improve recreational ORV use requires that ORV be registered and licensed as the basis for further legislative management modification. The Common Goal Statement of the Coalition serves as guidelines that, in summary,
- ensure cooperation to reach the goal of licensing and registration of ORV in British Columbia
- propose that revenues resulting from licensing would be used to supply a Trust Fund allocated to education, safety and other necessary management programs.
Method and results
Four steps were initiated to reach the objective :
- First, collect information, survey and assess interests of all stakeholders and elaborate method. This step was finished by 2004.
- Second, develop a motivation document for ORV registration, licensing and management plan. This step was completed by 2004 and, with the data from the first step, led to the development of the first report : Solutions for a Sustainable Future : Interim Report.
- Third, research, elaborate and propose solution options regarding ORV registration, licensing and management of and other measures correlated such as options for the Trust Fund. This step was achieved by 2005 and led to the development of the second report : Solutions for a Sustainable Future : Options for the Registration, Licensing and Management of Off-Road Vehicles in BC. This report was submitted to stakeholders and public review. The resulting comments were regrouped to create the Public Review of ORV Coalition’s Options Report.
- Finally, propose recommendations for ORV management plan and its concrete establishment on the basis of the Public Review of ORV Coalition’s Options Report and the stakeholder workshop of September 2005. This step was achieved by the end of 2005, ending a three-years work. Results were presented in this report which was provided to the government of British Columbia, expecting action will be taken.
Discussion and Recommendations
The work achieved by the ORV coalition is a meaningful achievement in the sense that 11 organizations cooperated to carry out research and discussion and to obtain consensus over 47 recommendations that are a strong groundwork provided to the British Columbia government to establish legislative changes concerning ORV in order to mitigate its impacts on other interests and values.
The 47 recommendations proposed to the British Columbia’s government are detailed in the report and are focused on three main axes :
The legislative recommendations mostly concern the establishment of an ORV Act for the province and the integration of the ORV Coalition in the process of creating and reviewing this Act and other legislative modifications that should address ORV management issues.
Vehicle registration and licensing, and trust fund
These recommendations provide details regarding the registration (including what steps need to be done to register, who should proceed to the registration, the cost associated and who is concerned) and the licensing process and the Trust Fund.
The topics addressed are education, safety, trails, compliance and enforcement and conservation.
One of the recommendations concerning the trails is that the Trust Fund should be used to maintain and improve existing trails and also to develop new trails in a responsible way, ensuring that the trail is safe, preserves sensitive ecological areas, limits impacts on the environment and on other users, respects the land use plans and is approved by government. Efforts should also be made to ensure that public is informed and stakeholders are consulted. However, the ORV users are not the only ones concerned about issues like invasive plant spread. All land users are responsible for it and should implicate themselves to reduce it. Non-tenure users are also involved and a lot of improvement can be made through education about the issues. In the process of maintaining existing trails, it is important to consult users and government when issues are suspected. Another recommendation concerning trails is correlated to the recognition of the difference of trail use between season and the education of public and trail users about it.
The recommendations regarding conservation include the establishment or improvement of environmental protective legislation related to the new ORV Act to answer the lack of laws that intend to avoid recreational uses negatively impacting the environment. Stakeholders should be consulted during the process. In the same perspective, behaviours intending to damage environment, wildlife, livestock or other resource should be prohibited. Another recommendation to protect environment is that ORV users do not come out of the roads and trails in sensitive areas except under special governmental authorization. Part of the Trust Fund should be available for responsible ORV user groups, in collaboration with conservation and governmental groups, to restore and rehabilitate habitats damaged by irresponsible ORV users. Partnerships are really encouraged to achieve appropriate management strategies regarding that topic. There are also recommendations addressing noise-related issues.
One crucial topic that was not considered in the report but that the Coalition recommends the government address is the issue of recreational access management.
A whole section explains what benefits the recommendations provide to the government in terms of environment protection (recommendations addressing the lack of governmental law to prevent environmental damages), tourism boost, conflicts reduction between users of different interests, safety increase and medical costs reduction, red tape reduction and simplification, costs reduction and revenue increase for the province.
The ORV Coalition aims to address issues associated to ORV activities in a way that mitigates impacts on the environment and on other activities without restraining ORV positive values. Through a three-year process, the ORV Coalition finally presented 47 recommendations in this report and submitted it to the British Columbia government. Actions and management legislative changes are expected in order to ensure the sustainability of ORV activities for the province.
Access, Trails and Transportation in:
- Evergreen Stewardship Plan for Lillooet Sub Region
- Evergreen Stewardship Plan for South Chilcotin Sub Region