Friday deadline set for public input on County trial

March 30, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

Dufferin County’s Forest Operation Review Committee (FORC), created in 2014 to explore future recreational uses permitted on the County’s 13 forest tracts, has proposed County Council consider a trial non-competitive, recreational off-road motorcycle event, to take place in the Randwick Tract.

The tract is 289 acres located west of Airport Road at County Road 21 in Mulmur Township. The proposal has met with both support and opposition.

Public comments are being sought by both those for and against the idea to support their position with County Council. Public comments must be made by this Friday, March 31st, in writing, through the County website or by email to the Forest Manager, Caroline Mache.

County Warden Darren White stressed that the committee has to review the comments and make a recommendation to County Council. “Once the committee has met and had discussions, I’m sure the proper course of action will be taken, whatever that course may be.”

The Dufferin Rooftop Recreational Riders Association (DRRRA), in full support of the trial event, told the Citizen, “The modern controversy over prohibiting off-road motorcycles from the Dufferin County Forest is not evidence-based.  The only way to make an educated, evidence-based decision is to evaluate the forest and the forest neighbours before and after a trial single-day event.” DRRRA President Chris Hare said. It was his understanding “that is why the Dufferin Forest Operation Review Committee came up with the proposal.”

However, opponents of the trial event, including the citizen group C.O.R.E. (Conserve Our Rural Environment) and the Mono Mulmur Citizens’ Coalition (MC2), point out that the Dufferin County Forest Management Plan and the Draft of the Recreation and Culture section clearly states, “Motorized vehicles, other than snowmobiles, are not permitted in Dufferin County Forest.”

C.O.R.E. stresses that the plan further states that the County’s goal is “to protect the quality and integrity of ecosystems” in the forest.

     C.O.R.E.’s opposition includes concerns around the “one-day” event being repeated; that it will attract subsequent, unauthorized vehicle use; create noise and reduce property values; pose potential dangers to hikers and animals; result in physical damage to the forest, caused by the event and possible additional and similar events and unauthorized incursions, that could take years to remediate.

Mr. Hare, who rode his motorcycle through the forest at a time when it was still permitted, says, “It wasn’t destruction of property or noise that closed the trails to off-road motorcycles – it was the fear of liability and fear that the County could be sued.” But he says this is no longer an issue, “as all organized trail rides in Ontario carry $5,000,000 insurance coverage.”

The DRRRA President added, “Some pruning of dead or low branches may be required, but nothing of significance or detriment to the health of a tree or the forest.”  He says volunteers walk the route picking up and moving any logs or sticks on the ground.  “There is no cost or tree cutting required to create a single track trail through the forest. A potential route is created with flagging tape, then approved, or adjusted for approval by the County Forest Manager.”

Mulmur’s Deputy Mayor, Janet Horner, says her Council is also opposed to the trial event. “Mulmur Council voted to oppose the trial motorcycle event because of the overwhelming feedback we received from constituents,” she said. “Mulmur citizens are opposed to motorized events in the County Forest.  It is my feeling, if there is felt to be a need for such events, they would be better located at the property in Amaranth that the County owns for a designated landfill site, or other properties that are less environmentally sensitive.  Our green environment in the County Forest in Mulmur is important to steward and protect and it is our opinion that our Council has acted in a manner that does so.”

Public comments must be made by this Friday, in writing through the feedback tab on the County website: or by email to the Forest Manager Caroline Mache at

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