Gateway Gazette

Trails Closed in Bob Creek Park to Protect Trout Habitats

16954414796_4a6a92aacc_kOff-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation trails are closed in Bob Creek Provincial Wildland Park so trail reclamation work can be completed.

The closures, which will be in effect as of Friday, Aug. 19 until the end of December, will also allow Alberta Parks staff to reduce inputs of sediment into streambeds that can cause direct damage to fish habitats.

Streambeds in the park are home to Alberta westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout. Westslope is federally protected under the Species at Risk Act and the Alberta Wildlife Act, while bull trout is listed as “threatened” under the Alberta Wildlife Act.

Protecting species at risk is a priority for the Alberta government. The temporary closures will allow park staff to assess and improve the trail system for recreational use while conserving key trout habitats.

In concert with the reclamation effort, Alberta Parks will track and monitor trail use and undertake a recreational trail assessment and sustainability plan to manage the area both for OHV use and for habitat conservation beyond 2016.

Bob Creek Provincial Wildland Park includes an OHV trails network with crossings within the park at Camp Creek and White Creek. The work to improve fish habitats complements a government framework that is being developed in response to Alberta’s Westslope Cuthroat Trout Recovery Plan and the federal Recovery Strategy.

Neither hikers nor equestrian users will be affected by the trail closures.

Government is committed to ensuring that all Albertans are able to enjoy public lands and that unlawful activities are not undertaken. The province reinstated tickets and specified penalty amounts for violations on Alberta’s public lands on Aug. 6.

Penalty amounts for public lands offences range from $100 to $500, depending upon the nature of the violation. Enforcement officers may ticket people for offences related to OHV use, damage and destruction to resources, and inappropriate waste disposal.

In May, government took steps to heighten enforcement on public lands through a co-ordinated effort by several enforcement agencies and use of the Report A Poacher line (1-800-642-3800). Since May 1, Fish and Wildlife officers, conservation officers and seasonal park rangers have issued more than 1,120 written warnings and laid more than 845 charges under various pieces of legislation.

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