Friday August 22, 2014

Landowners brace for ATV onslaught


As the snow melts all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts, dirt bikers and off-roaders feel the urge to get out and get muddy.

The problem is, many of them go where they should not.

One farmer near the city, who asked not to be named, explained the issue is not just that it makes a mess, but a financial burden. Before the snow flies in the fall, they spread fertilizer to prepare for spring.

“When they get in there and run it all up, we lose all that fertilizer,” she said. “That’s a cost; it affects our livelihood.”

She said they have tried everything, but ‘no trespassing’ signs are ignored, video cameras damaged or stolen and by the time RCMP can respond the offenders are long gone.

Sgt. Sheri Fedorowich, of the Yorkton rural RCMP said they haven’t received any complaints yet this year.

“Right now, it’s not perceived to be a problem,” she said.

If police do get reports, however, they will respond and investigate. To help with the investigation, landowners are encouraged to get the best description possible including plate numbers if visible, and distinguishing features of the machine and/or driver.

The Yorkton Sno-Riders, recognizing many of its sledders switch from snowmobiling to ATVs in the spring has proactively put out a notice to its members to stay off private land.

“The Yorkton Sno Riders would like to announce our trails and shelters are now closed for the summer,” wrote Jason Popowich, club president. “Please respect our landowners and stay off their land during the off season months. The landowners have given permission to the club to access their land on the trails only during the winter months.”

The proper use of ATVs is covered under several pieces of legislation in Saskatchewan including the All-Terrain Vehicles Act, the Traffic Safety Act, the Highways and Transportation Act and even the Criminal Code of Canada.

It is illegal to operate an ATV or dirt bike on private land or public streets. In addition to fines, off-roaders could also face criminal charges such as criminal trespassing or mischief depending on the extent of damage caused to property.



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