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ATVs damaging Ridgeway nature trail, says couple

By Kris Dube, Special to Postmedia News

Tim and Brigitte Bonner, a Ridgeway couple concerned about damage being done by all-terrain vehicles at Shagbark Nature Trail. (Kris Dube/Special to Postmedia News)

Tim and Brigitte Bonner, a Ridgeway couple concerned about damage being done by all-terrain vehicles at Shagbark Nature Trail. (Kris Dube/Special to Postmedia News)

A beautiful woodlot in Ridgeway should be used for walking and appreciating nature and not roaring around on all-terrain vehicles, says a local couple.

Tim and Brigitte Bonner’s Nigh Road property abuts onto Shagbark Nature Park, a 25.6-hectare wooded area with an extensive trail system running through it.

This summer, they’ve heard and seen too much damage caused by motorized recreational vehicles.

“There’s a lot of damage being done on the trail,” said Brigitte during a recent visit and walk-through of the site, pointing to large ruts and exposed tree roots she says are caused by people in the area going for rides.

Brigitte and Tim also say they regularly see small tress knocked down.

“It aggravates me when I see the trail being ruined,” said Tim, who added the municipality has been keeping an eye on the site.

“They’ve been doing a good job maintaining it,” he said.

Recently, Town of Fort Erie made improvements at the municipally-owned property between Burleigh and Prospect Point roads.

Bert Miller Nature Club has also worked with the municipality to establish a new parking lot and signage as well as several plantings to rehabilitate the property.

Interpretive signage throughout the park, which has more than four kilometres of trail running through it, highlights its diverse character, including its geology, the woodland, birds, butterflies and other natural life.

“There’s a lot of beautiful wildlife back there,” said Brigitte.

Sean Hutton, the town’s manager of parks and facilities, said some repairs were made last year and that the municipality will continue monitoring the park’s condition to determine if another site visit is required.

He said motorized vehicles are “not permitted” and that there is a sign at the park’s main entrance on Burleigh Road displaying rules pertaining to the town’s parks and beaches bylaw, which does prohibit use of all-terrain vehicles.  



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