The UCP government has proposed legislation to govern trails on public land in Alberta. The Trails Act doubles down on the powers granted to the Minister to create and manage trails, including the power to appoint third-party trail managers, outside the scrutiny of the legislature. Once again, the government is attempting to manage overcommitted public lands in the Eastern Slopes in the absence of a regional planning framework or limits on cumulative impacts. And once again, major land-use decisions are being made without public input.
The public’s response to the coal mining debacle has demonstrated that Albertans care deeply about the Eastern Slopes and place a high priority on its protection. Rather than the Trails Act, we need comprehensive legislation that tackles trade-offs among land uses in the Eastern Slopes and ensures that the integrity of this special landscape is protected. Please call or write to Minister Nixon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and your MLA to tell them to go back to the drawing board on the Trails Act (Bill 79) to create legislation that protects the integrity of public lands, protects sensitive species, and places limits on trail density and off-highway vehicle use.