A ‘No Trespassing’ sign has been erected on Crown land near Wild Cove Brook in the Humber Valley. The land has been leased by Pasadena Equipment Services. (Submitted photo)

A conflict over land use in the Humber Valley on Newfoundland’s west coast is creating a divide between hikers and a private developer, after signs were erected prohibiting access to some trails.

The private developer in this instance, Pasadena Equipment Services, has a lease agreement with the provincial government for more than 250 acres of Crown land in the area from Wild Cove Brook to Humber Village for an agricultural operation for root crop production.

The company’s CEO, Brian Johnson, also has land in the private community of Humber Village on which signs have been erected to block access to trailheads.

As a result, the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the International Appalachian Trail (IATNL) said it may have to re-route some trails, and it’s calling on government to change legislation to ensure issues don’t arise in the future in other areas.

Paul Wylezol of the International Appalachian Trail is calling on government to legislate a right of access for recreational users on Crown lands in N.L. (Bernice Hillier/CBC)

Access denied

Paul Wylezol, a director with the IATNL, said the group may have to change its trail route through part of the Humber Valley and it may need to adjust the boundary of the proposed Cabox Aspiring Geopark because of issues with access for hikers.

“It’s a shame that, because of some landowners, we might have to shift the boundary,” he said. 

Wylezol said he believes there needs to be a guaranteed corridor for recreational users to access trails, especially on established hiking routes and where private interests are permitted to lease large tracts of Crown land.

“We’d like to see it legislated a right to roam, right of access, on Crown lands, and Crown lands roads and stream crossings,” he said.

Wylezol said lawmakers in this province could look to the United Kingdom as an example, where the Land Reform (Scotland) Act came into effect in 2005. The legislation gives everyone rights of access over land and inland waters throughout Scotland.</…….

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/hiking-trail-land-conflict-development-1.6188317

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