4WDABC - The Strategic Reasoning For Entering Into Site Maintenance Agreements
Jan 27, 2009
I recently asked Steve Dillen, president of the 4WDABC, the reasons behind the Association's aggressive pursuit of campsite maintenance agreements with the province of British Columbia. Specifically, I wanted to know if there was more to it than simply being a public relations move. Here's Steve's reply:
There are a number of reasons why the Four Wheel Drive Association of
British Columbia has taken an active interest in signing Recreation Site
Maintenance Agreements with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the
Arts over the last several years. While it often appears that the
4WDABC has taken on the sites simply as a means of gaining public
awareness of our organization, these agreements are forming the
foundation of our strategic plan to be a significant participant in
motorized recreation opportunities throughout the province. Our reasons
for increasing our portfolio of recreation site agreements include:
- Fulfilling contractual obligations with the government has been one
way of demonstrating that the Association is a committed stakeholder in
outdoor recreation interests and that we're here for "the long term".
Comments made to members of the board by staff of various agencies has
indicated that the 4WDABC is one of the few agreement holders in the
province who consistently delivers upon commitments year after year --
an important reputation to foster when it comes to playing a more
significant part in the changing roles of crown land stewardship.
Recreation sites agreements has proven to be an excellent way of
"getting our foot in the door" when it comes to developing a positive
working relationship with government agencies in each district.
- Our volunteer efforts to maintain recreation sites and to make them
available for public use establishes the Four Wheel Drive Association of
BC as an organization which provides a public service. By not charging
user fees, we're putting "our money where our mouth is" and
demonstrating the Association's position that free public access to
crown land is an important part of recreation in the province. The
Association's volunteer effort will be forming the basis for seeking
funding from various government agencies over the next several years --
funding which we intend to use in a public education/awareness campaign
which we hope will further develop acceptance of 4x4 recreation as a key
aspect of tourism/recreation in the province. Ideally, we hope that
this will turn into something of a snowball effect.
- By adopting recreation sites and declaring our responsibilities in a
contract, we are firmly establishing motorized access to crown land as a
significant aspect of the recreational opportunities in an area. Each
of our recreation site agreements specifies that the Four Wheel Drive
Association will hold trail runs to the sites on a periodic basis. We
believe that since motorized access to these recreation sites is so
formally established, it will not be revoked by future projects.
- The Association believes that there are significant changes on the
horizon when it comes to motorized recreation in the province. By
holding contracted agreements and officially recognized/defined trail
runs, we believe that we are formally establishing motorized
recreation's "tenure" in these areas. The Association believes that it
is extremely unlikely that industry, private organizations or government
agencies will take steps to revoke access to areas for which we have a
contracted obligation and proven track record of providing public
benefit. Some of the recreation sites which we have adopted have been
taken on in anticipation of potential access impacting projects.
Industrial projects (and I'm thinking Indepent Power Providers here) or other legislative
changes may result in changes to the designation of some of these
recreation sites -- however we believe that if motorized recreation
interests are a firmly established stakeholder in the site that the
motorized recreation community will have solid grounds to demand
alternate/equivalent recreation opportunities if a site is lost.
In the case of Wilson Lake, vehicle access to the site has been
impossible for several years....however there are some potential
industrial projects that may impact the site -- and if so, the 4WDABC is
prepared to participate in those projects with the intent of regaining
access to (and possibly establishing new) 4x4 trails in the area.
Kenyon Lake is a unique recreation site in that it is located nearly at
the end of the Sylvester road system. By holding an agreement for that
recreation site, we believe that the 4WDABC is firmly established as a
stakeholder in trail access and crown land management issues in the
entire East Stave Lake road system. We have a vested interest in all
issues which may increase traffic or limit access in the area -- and
because of our contracted responsibilities for the recreation site we
cannot be excluded from any planning sessions or discussions related to
public access in the area.
In short, our recreation site agreements firmly establish the Four Wheel
Drive Association of BC as a recognized stakeholder in issues impacting
access to crown land. In addition, they provide a framework by which we
can report tangible benefits we provide to the recreation public within
the province and legitimizes our pro- motorized access position as we
participate in discussions with agencies throughout the province. And
finally, though certainly not least in importance, these sites are
beautiful -- and our maintenance agreements provide an excellent reason
to get in our vehicles and hit the trail.
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