Fire areas that are part of Elephant Hill and Allie Lake will be closed to motorized vehicles, including off-road recreational vehicles except on existing roads, effective on Jan. 1, according to a news release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development on Dec. 19.
The closure aims to support wildfire-recovery management strategies without the disruption and further damage unauthorized off-road vehicles might cause. Some negative effects that could be caused would be soil compaction, erosion and an increase in invasive plants that could affect grassland health, wildlife, habitat and the quality/availability of water for wildlife and livestock.
The areas in question will be closed off until Dec. 31, 2020. During this period, restoration and recovery activities will be implemented to help the area’s ecosystems recover from the wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
Originally set to be lifted on Dec. 31, 2018, the Elephant Hill motorized closure is being extended to 2020 due to the extent of the rehabilitation and restoration needed. The Elephant Hill wildfire burned an estimated 191, 865 hectares in 2017.
The Allie Lake wildfire happened in 2018 and had an estimated size of 2,700 hectares.
The closure does not apply to authorized users performing activities associated with agreements awarded through a provincial statute. It also does not pertain to snowmobiles operating on a minimum of o.5 metres of snow.
Recreation trails such as the Green Lake Snowmobile Trail, 70 Mile – Green Lake Trail and the Interlakes Snowmobile Trails are also free from the closure.
Off-road vehicles owners need to register their vehicle for usage on Crown land.
It also does not apply to non-motorized users.