ATV Tours on Railway Trail and National Parks

Hog Bay Park.jpg

 Photo credit Max Kehrli - The Bermudian Magazine

The Bermuda National Trust is strongly objecting to the proposal to allow the Railway Trail and National Parks in the West End to be used for ATV tours.

And we are urging you, our members and supporters, to review the proposal, which would require changes to the rules governing vehicle access to public parks, and to send in your own objections.

The former One Bermuda Alliance government gave provisional approval for the plan. We understand that the approval was given despite a unanimous recommendation by the Parks Commission to reject the proposal.

The proposal would bring all-terrain vehicles on to the Railway Trail, Hog Bay Park, Fort Scaur Park and the Heydon Trust.  It would also run alongside the National Trust’s Gilbert Nature Reserve for part of the route.

National Trust President Alana Anderson said: “The Trust vehemently objects to National Parks being accessed by motorised vehicles as it would be wholly incompatible with the quality, character and function of these natural and historic sites.

“The National Trust supports the active enjoyment of our parks and open spaces and encourages their enhancement and new uses for them. We also welcome innovative thinking to revitalize our tourism industry and to enrich our visitors’ experiences in Bermuda.

“Nevertheless, the proposal 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.”

National Trust Preservation Committee chairman Robert Masters added: “There is no doubt that the use of the 150cc ATVs 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.” 

The deadline for objections is November 14 (next Tuesday).

 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.
  • You can also mail your submissions to the Department of Parks, P.O. Box HM20, Hamilton, HMAX.
  • You can also make your 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, you can email parkspublicconsultation@gov.bm.

 

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