Letter: Epidemic of Trespassers in Northern Bruce

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In a conversation with my husband, we were talking about trespassers, especially those on ATVs, but there are also those on foot. It seems there is an epidemic on the Northern Bruce Peninsula. Individuals with a total disregard for “No Trespassing” signs, gates, barricades, cameras etc. 

It amazes me how these people don’t care about the Provincially Significant Wetlands, Endangered Species or those at risk, or other’s property. 

Today I learned ATVs drove past a No Trespassing sign, tore up the Zinkan Island Cove ANSI, and left their beer cans behind. This is the 3rd incident in about a year where people have damaged this wetland. Even the damage from a year ago hasn’t recovered. 

Then you have the ATVs entering the Harkin’s Reserve on Sadler Creek Road owned by the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy. Someone even made a firepit on the property.

That’s just a tidbit of what’s taking place on the Bruce Peninsula. This is just the Lindsay Road 20 area, in which the damage is being done by people living and playing there. Talk about good neighbours. I don’t think so. 

Yet, those trying to build in these areas of significant interest have to pay thousands for environmental studies to ensure the flora, fauna and protected species like the Massasauga Rattlesnake and Hill’s Thistle etc. aren’t disturbed, even though ATVs are driving through, tearing the properties to hell – private property and lands donated for conservancy whom our government has issued tax receipts to. 

So I guess it’s a “house party” on the Northern Bruce Peninsula. These trespassers are entering your homes, that being your land, partying it up, and leaving the mess. Even though you’ve locked it up, signed it, installed surveillance – they just don’t give a damn. 

So here’s a challenge to the Federal Government, Provincial Government and Municipalities and Police Services. Grow some teeth and go after these people. I hope to see the OPP on ATVs patrolling more. At least they’ve been co-operative and productive, although every time an OPP officer has to deal with trespassing it costs a lot of taxpayers money and takes time and resources, which is regrettable. 

Because there is no sense having environmental studies, costing the landowners, who are already paying taxes, thousands, if it isn’t going to mean a damn thing in the end. Because the trespassers on ATVs are going to run over the flora, fauna, Snapping Turtles, Massasauga Rattlesnakes, habitat for birds and water fowl, spread invasive species, etc. 

The most recent incident on our property – they drove through the Provincially Significant Wetland right where I was happy to see the Dwarf Lake Iris in July and where many creatures reside like the Massasauga Rattlesnake, etc. Protected? Supposed to be. 

But on a positive note we on 3 out of 4 occasions have found the trespassers. One charged, one warned, one pending, one unknown, for now. 

Funny though, you think some would learn. The ones warned in 2018 who trespassed 3 times (2017/2018) are still roaming around. They came out of the White Cedar/ Youngblood road allowance which is also the snowmobile trail this summer. That access ends up leading to the Sadler Creek Reserve where they don’t allow ATVs, nor do I believe the Snowmobile Association is too thrilled about them using their trails for fear of losing access. Giving them the benefit of the doubt maybe they just drove through Sadler Creek and turned around at the Biosphere property? Least they wore helmets this time. 

There are no ATV trails on the Northern Bruce Peninsula, so go to South Bruce. Or buy your own property. Or stay on the roads. 

It’s also my thought that people should send images of trespassers to the OPP, sign their property and gate it, especially in the Lindsay Road 20 area, but I’m sure elsewhere. Because this “house party” may be on your property next. 

By the way, I have nothing against law abiding ATVrs/ snowmobilers/hunters who are respectful, but the others certainly will ruin the sport’s reputation and the co-operation of landowners. 

C. Porter,

Georgian Bluffs