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Trust: ATV tours sets ‘terrible precedent’

The Bermuda National Trust objects “strongly” to the introduction of quad bike tours to the West End, according to a statement issued today.

The proposal came under fire from area residents last month amid rumours that the all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, were already on the island.

The Department of Parks is accepting public feedback until November 14, and the Trust has asked its supporters to review the proposal and send in their criticism.

The plan was provisionally approved under the former One Bermuda Alliance Government, but was turned down by the Parks Commission.

If permitted, ATV tours would have access to the Railway Trail, Hog Bay Park, Fort Scaur Park and the Heydon Trust.

Trust president Alana Anderson said the group “vehemently objects”, calling the proposal “wholly incompatible with the quality, character and function of these natural and historic sites”.

Ms Anderson said the Trust welcomed innovative tourism suggestions — but said the ATV tours would set a “terrible” precedent.

“Hog Bay Park is one of Bermuda's largest and most peaceful parks which is a vital amenity for neighbourhoods in the area while thousands of people use the Railway Trial for walking and relaxation.

“The disruption from the proposed tours in terms of noise, erosion to unpaved walking and nature trails, disturbed wildlife and threats to safety would have a detrimental impact on surrounding nature reserves, parklands and historic sites and conflict with their function as places of respite, amenity, education, recreation and conservation.”

The vehicles proposed are 150cc ATVs, said to travel at 10mph — but Robert Masters, chairman of the Trust's preservation committee, said: “There is no doubt that the use of the will pose a threat to public safety; it is nonsensical to imagine that they will remain at or below 10mph. In addition, there are already walking and bicycle tours of these areas.

“Also, this will exacerbate the problem of illegal access by motorised vehicles of these parks. Hog Bay Park has suffered from an entrenched problem with scramblers for years without any effective solution — damaging the paths, endangering the users, negatively affecting the agricultural land and disturbing neighbours. Introducing ATVs to the park will only make it worse.”

Comments may be sent in writing via the Government Portal at https://www.gov.bm/proposed-change-use-scaur-hill-fort-park-and-hog-bay-park, or at: https://www.gov.bm/sites/default/files/8500_Proposed-Change-of-Use.pdf

• Submissions can be sent in to the Parks Department, via e-mail at parkspublicconsultation@gov.bm before 4pm on November 14.

• Individuals can mail their submissions to the Department of Parks, P.O. Box HM20, Hamilton, HMAX.

• Interested residents can also provide their submissions in person by visiting the Department of Parks' main office, Ground floor Global House, Church Street, Hamilton.

The Department of Parks will have forms available to fill out, and schematics of the proposed trail changes will be on display in their main lobby for review and consideration.

For more information regarding this proposal, interested members of the public can email parkspublicconsultation@gov.bm.

Media Inquiries: Bill Zuill at 236-6483 or wzuill@bnt.bm or Dorcas Roberts at dorcas@bnt.bm or 236-6483.

Proposed route for ATV tours at the West End (File photograph)

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Published November 09, 2017 at 3:25 pm (Updated November 09, 2017 at 3:25 pm)

Trust: ATV tours sets ‘terrible precedent’

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