Last ski season a couple of depressing articles appeared in this paper, lamenting the selfishness of people who deliberately wrecked the specially trackset cross country ski trails with snowmobiles and ATVs (not to mention the damage they did to the golf course). As the 2006-07 ski season approaches, one wonders whether it is worth requesting a bit more consideration this year. Prominent signs indicate that such vehicles are prohibited on these trails, in bold letters, and also as icons for those who cannot read well. There is only one snowmobile that should be on these trails and that is the WNMS club groomer that grooms and sets the trails. The absence of by-law enforcement regrettably has made such offences difficult to follow up on, perhaps that will change too.
The situation is different with the Lost Haven Cabin at the far end of the ski trails. This was built in the 1990s as a joint project between WNMS and District of Tumbler Ridge, with funding from Forest Renewal BC. It has enchanted many skiers, hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders since. For the first few years of its existence it was recognized by all that this was a non-motorized, alcohol free zone, but this pattern of respect changed, despite the gates and barricades that District staff erected. To get to this site with an ATV it was necessary, in addition to ignoring the signs, to manipulate the vehicle around the locked gate after taking the trouble to remove the large boulders that had been placed there as a deterrent. About three years ago one crop of youths decided to make it into a party venue. The resulting drug and alcohol busts at Lost Haven cabin by the RCMP were an interesting sight. Couple of new criminal records, couple of disgraced prominent local families, etc. These events had a major deterrent effect and things were fairly quiet again, until this year.
In recent months ATV use has again increased and there has been further vandalism at the cabin, leaving more garbage for WNMS volunteers to remove. The RCMP has been informed of this development, and has begun regular patrols, especially on weekends. Currently, and for the 2006-07 ski season, it is therefore a very bad idea to head out into this zone with booze or drugs, or on a motorized vehicle. Parents of kids with ATVs, please check where your kids are riding and please reinforce these messages.