LETTER: Cyclists were causing damage to Haro Woods

LETTER: Cyclists were causing damage to Haro Woods

Saanich Parks and Recreation should be proud of upholding the P-4N park status in Haro Woods and scrapping the idea of turning the forest into a bike skills park.

READ ALSO: Council approves plan banning cycling in Haro Woods

The process to protect Haro Woods took many years, first preventing housing development and then stopping the sewage treatment facility.

People who care about the forest had been waiting for a park status for years while damaging off-trail cycling and BMX bike jumping took place illegally as the formal park status and land swap work took place.

This activity increased when the advisory group encouraged this cycling community to take part in the planning discussions. This spread the false word that Haro Woods was open for bike jumps and off-trail cycling, causing further damage to the forest at an alarming rate.

READ ALSO: Bike enthusiasts have a place in Haro Woods

Bike jump builders and cycling trailblazers removed native vegetation as they built their, at times five-foot-wide tracks, using branches of ocean spray and other native shrubs they removed. They exposed dry sandy soil, causing erosion, then compacted it in mounds with wood and outside trash materials. In one area a large pit was dug for a source for soil.

Roots of trees, cut near the base of coastal Douglas firs, and native plants are of no consequence when a cyclist wants to get the best free ride.

Extreme lack of respect was obvious when garbage, broken glass, chairs, cans and even spray paint on fir trees was visible. The people who fought to protect Haro Woods found this devastating.

READ ALSO: Saanich teams up with BC Hydro for bike park

Haro Woods now has P-4N park status which has been upheld after the lengthy advisory group and public consultation process. Thanks to Saanich Parks and Saanich council, Haro Woods can finally be restored and protected, and available for everyone to enjoy long into the future.

Katrina Madsen