I read with interest the article about Crowfoot Mountain in last week’s paper.
I have lived at the foot of Crowfoot for most of the last 30 years and have witnessed the increasing pressures that this area, and many other back -country areas, are under.
I think this trend is concerning and should be prompting a wider discussion about appropriate uses of public space.
Thirty years ago there was only one day a year, Boxing Day, when more than 20 snowmobiles would be on the mountain at once.
Now there are 20 trucks in the parking lot on most days, many of those pulling a trailer that can carry several machines.
Moreover, the mountain is now heavily used in the summer by dirt bikes, quads and a new machine that looks like a cross between a jeep and a dune buggy. This use mirrors what we see on the water with an explosion in the number of motorized boats using the lake. But unless you live on a logging road, or own one of these machines, it is less visible.
Beyond the ecological concerns, which are serious, I think this raises broader questions about the use of public land. A hundred years ago there were only a couple thousand cars in all of North America. Slowly, but inexorably, roads and highways suitable for car use have come to dominate the geography.
These new vehicles are similarly colonizing public space with very little discussion about what this means for the land itself, our relationship to public space, and the future implications.