Here's my Yukon River East Side survey response

September 9, 2013. The city has posted the results of the first version of the survey. Here's a google Earth view of the city's desires. Quite an interesting read is the admin report on the survey.

"The City has a long-standing and successful working relationship with the Klondike Snowmobile Association, but the other two motorized groups are relatively new. During the course of implementation, the City should prioritize collaboration and stewardship with all motorized groups. From a foundation of shared success in working with all 3 groups, as well as positive feedback from non‐motorized groups and Riverdale residents, the City could consider expansion of the MMU network (and conversely, the NM network), on a route‐specific basis, in the future."

Doesn't seem that quiet places, neighbourhood-safe trails and a hospital trail network are in what they wanted to allow. The survey closes 4 October 2013 at 4:30pm.

The trail survey is open until January 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm. I've linked a pdf of the survey here.

whitehorsewalks.com

My SURVEY RESPONSE

I'm sorry about my answers being opposed to so much, but I think that this happened as the Task Force Mandate didn't start from Trail Plan/OCP philosophies. Trail planning should be about users. It's an expensive process and uses volunteer commitment of a lot of time. To only cater to wanting to make as many motorized trails as possible no matter where, shows a lack of belief in the groundwork the Trail plan, Parks and Recreation master plan, the OCP, snowmobile and ATV by-laws.

The mapping really hid the complexity of what the city ended up posting under the voice of the task force. I've partially looked at that on my website under: Yukon River East Side Trail information and Consulting with the city.


A) RESPONDENT PROFILE

#1:
Not from Riverdale, but I often walk the trails on the east side of the river as they are non-motorized.

#2:
Walking/Hiking; snowshoeing; other (plant photography)


B) TASK FORCE APPROACH

#3:
Strongly disagree
Comments:
- Snowmobiles make walking difficult when they drive over a foot trail, they widen small trails. Noise from machines travels a long distance. Exhaust, trail become all the same, no more variety such as small foot paths as snowmobiles follow trails wherever they see them. The snow compaction also causes spring mud conditions to make trails more difficult for much longer — weeks— than trails with just foot traffic; these mud places are often then not nice with erosion and susceptibility to water problems during non-snow times. Additionally, where they travel through wetlands and wetland trails they cause general deterioration, in spite of their we-cause-no-problem theory.

- ATVs and motorcycles are disturbing the peace of an area. They go fast and noise carries a long distance. They intimidate. We don't walk in traffic on roads, why would we want to walk on trails with motor vehicles.
Why not recognize distinctions between motorized users and walkers? Vehicles go fast and many trails are narrow. It's not safe. These vehicles are designed to go fast and long distances. People walking are far more restricted. I certainly don't think the city recommends people should drive to get away from their neighbourhoods in their quest for non=motorized areas.


C) TASK FORCE TRAIL DESIGNATION CRITERIA

#4:
Don't understand the table. Seems to be about accommodating motor vehicles no matter what. Many proposed trails are really inappropriate from an area point of view. The table doesn't deal with this critical point. The table seems to have nothing to do with the most common trail user — the walker.

#5.:
Same as #4.


D) TASK FORCE RECOMMENDED ROUTES

#6: Strongly oppose
See specifics below.

#7:
- Heartbreak Hill is very inappropriate. It's inside the 500m neighbourhood limit. At present, snowmobiles can go wherever they want: they aren't restricted to any trail in the study area except the Millennium Trail. So they shouldn't get a trail designated. Besides, this trail has loose gravel and erosion and encouraging even more use is wrong.

- Broken Truck is a heavily used walking trail. It's part of the Hospital Long Lake network. The city should be respecting the quality of the environment in the Hospital Area. Vehicles on this trail will echo through the hospital area. Instead of being a motorized trail, there should be well signed, varied quality of trails that people based at the hospital can have a holistic set of trails to balance the stress of their hospital visits. Think about a family member visiting from outside because a loved one is in the hospital. Should we welcome them with a dirt bike track? I don't think so. As well, many people walk the Long Lake trail network and this trail is a key part of that loop. It also is within the 2007 trail plan's neighbourhood trail zone. These are also downtown's walking trails.

- trails in the "V" that are within the 2007 Trail Plan neighbourhood area are also ignoring the spirit of the 2007 Trail plan. The map on the Inventory page is very clear. It should be respected.

#8:
The map of recommended trails is generally ok except for the points in # 7 . Further effort must be made to give these vehicles trails well away from residential and walking areas. Uses are not compatible. From a motorized user they are happy to share, but I think you'll find that non-motorized users are not happy to share with the vehicles. Certainly the drivers are likely all fine folk— it's their vehicles that cause problems.


E) TASK FORCE ROUTE IDEAS/OPTIONS

#9:
Strongly oppose
See comments for #7 Broken Truck. Very inappropriate. This would even broadcast noise to the downtown. Think of a presentation at the White Pass wharf or the KDFN cultural centre competing with the whine of vehicles playing on top of the ridge. The whole hospital trails area should be non-motorized.

#10:
Strongly oppose
Again see the 2007 Trail Plan inventory map. This is neighbourhood Trail area.

#11:
Strongly oppose
Again see the 2007 Trail Plan inventory map. This is neighbourhood Trail area. QUIET AREA

#12:
Strongly oppose
Again see the 2007 Trail Plan inventory map. This is neighbourhood Trail area.

#13:
Neutral

#14:
Neutral

#15:
Neutral

#16:
Strongly oppose
Again see the 2007 Trail Plan inventory map. This is neighbourhood Trail area. QUIET AREA

#17:
Strongly oppose
Again see the 2007 Trail Plan inventory map. This is neighbourhood Trail area. QUIET AREA

#18:
Strongly oppose
In addition to this being our non-motorized gem, Whitehorse has significant tourism potential developing its walking experiences. The Hidden Lake/Chadburn area is an incredible asset that has long been respected for its non-motorized character. "Within minutes of a modern urban centre, you will be walking in the northern boreal forest where all sense of the city disappears." Speak to Tourism before you destroy values in this area. The area with it's hills and lakes will reflect the sound of these noisy machines. Trails and flowers will suffer.

#19:
Strongly oppose
Same as #18. NO motorized trails.

#20
Do nothing. See #18. Bringing trails through this area after all these years of community respect for the character of the area seems to be not understanding the changes vehicles bring to an area.

#21:
The task force seems to have gotten lost in its understanding of the city's directions. Get them out and away. These are more out and play trails.


F) RIVERDALE ACCESS POINTS

Why shouldn't people respond? I've walked from Riverdale numerous times. I believe some of the task force members don't even live in Riverdale!

Peewee Hill is highly inappropriate for being motorized. Task Force members should be required to walk this slippery hill as vehicles erode it and pack snow.

Note that these motorized recreational vehicles are usually quite loud and their sound carries long distances and get's amplified by the backdrop of the hills. For any thought of a healthy walking community, the task force needs to do as all the planning has said and direct them out and away, where they can drive without disturbing other trail users.


Peter Long