Signs clearly mark the proper use of Waterlily Lake trails which do not allow snowmobiles

Signs clearly mark the proper use of Waterlily Lake trails which do not allow snowmobiles

Cross-country ski trails trashed

Vanderhoof and area cross-country skiers are fed up with ATV and snowmobilers wrecking trails at Waterlily Lake recreation area.

Apryl Veld

Omineca Express

Vanderhoof and area cross-country skiers are fed up with ATV and snowmobilers wrecking trails at Waterlily Lake recreation area.

A recreation director at Vanderhoof’s forestry office said that quad and snowmobile operators  can sometimes be a menace at Waterlily Lake.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s out and out vandalism,” Tom Peterson said, “I have no doubt that people are doing this on purpose.”

He noted, however that it can be hard to keep all terrain vehicles off an area that has a lot of accesses including a bunch of logging roads nearby.

But Nechako Valley Sporting Association (NVSA) director, Paul Collard said there is no excuse for the brazen destruction of special ski trails.

“There’s thousands of kilometres of trails for Ski-Doos but they keep using these trails,” Collard said.

The trailheads have big signs noting a ban on motorized vehicles, Collard said, “and clearly (the vandals) know they’re not supposed to be there.”

The 24-kilometre trail system is maintained by volunteers and costs about $3,000 annually for clearing and snow track maintenance. The monies for this are raised through public and corporate donations.

Collard said the vandalizing of trails at Waterlily is a long-standing problem and noted once vehicles mix up the snow the trails are spoiled all winter.

“A lot of the time we can’t get the trails back (into shape for skier use),” the NVSA director explained, and this frustrates both volunteers and skiers.

Collard said that the police do not have snowmobiles to pursue vandals if they were reported to be breaking the law.

A provincial law that bans motorized vehicles on foot trails carries a threat of fines, but Collard said, “we hope we can appeal to people’s conscience,” to stop ruining the trails.