Page 7 - July 11 2016
P. 7


Environmental stewardship during outdoor recreation

by Deanna Mitchener

Heather Robertson, a community engagement
lead from the Central Service Area Office in
Spruce Grove was at Willmore Park in July 4
talking about outdoor recreational use and its
impact on the environment.
“When you are out on public land please
remember to be responsible for the environment
around you. All of those activities we enjoy
[including quadding, hiking, biking, boating, and
horseback riding] on public land can have huge
impacts on the environment,” said Robertson.
“We need to ensure we are balancing the
environmental needs with our enjoyments. This
includes cleaning off your equipment after each
use and before moving from one site to the next.
The reason this is so important is to make sure
you're not spreading invasive plants. Seeds can
get stuck in the mud of your tires and we end up Heather Robertson, a community engagement lead was at Willmore Park in July 4 talking about
with a lot of invasive plants that get transported outdoor recreational use and its impact on the environment.
that make a huge impact on our environment,”
said Robertson. tracked vehicle into our water bodies, so any banks, lakes, and wet lands also uproots a lot of
“We see huge trends along bicycling trails and lakes or rivers," said Robertson. the natural vegetation that grows there which are
horseback riding trails.” Ensuring to clean bike As a demonstration Heather had a small model very important for filtration of run off. They
tires off after each use, particularly before going river set up with some muddy grass on the side. actually supply a lot of food for smaller fish in
out on other trails in other areas, and ensuring the Kids could pour water down the river and see the the rivers, said Robertson.
hay packed for horses doesn't have invasive water flowing nice and clear. Then the kids took Another invasive problem is zebra mussels.
plants in it, and even cleaning the bottom of a toy quad and ran it back and fourth in the “They are native to Europe and Asia and were
shoes off will go a long way to minimizing the mudding grass and start to see all the sediments brought over by ocean liners and now they are
spread of invasive and non-native plants, said get washed into the river leaving it cloudy and spread out all over Eastern Canada and now in
Robertson. murky. the Western State,” said Robertson.
“Keeping machines clean and washing them “That's another reason why we don't want Zebra mussels grab hold to anything hard in the
after each use is important. But keep in mind folks driving back and fourth across the streams water and they clog systems very fast as they
rivers are not the place to be washing them off. or up and down them. The sediment dragged into grow in such mass quantities. Zebra mussels are
People need to understand any oil or gas that was the stream makes it really hard for any fish that both economic issue and environmental issue
on the quad can get washed into the river, are trying to breathe down there, sediments clog they actually filter feed so they suck all the
becoming harmful to our environment. It is fish gills. nutrients out of the water, leaving the water with
actually against the law to drive a wheeled or Using quads back and fourth along stream no nutrients for other species to live,” said


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