Montreal wants to make the household in the trails clandestine of mount Royal

Montréal veut faire le ménage dans les sentiers clandestins du mont Royal

Photo: Adil Boukind The Duty
The wrong of which mount Royal had suffered for years, and a little more in these times of pandemic, it is the walkers and cyclists who venture off-trail and trample the undergrowth, which is prohibited under the regulation on the large parks.

In confinement time, the parks in montreal are stormed. The mount Royal is no exception and has even become a “gym open to the sky” for city dwellers in need of greenery and fresh air. To such a point that its popularity is raising concern, in particular with respect to the protection of its fragile ecosystem. To try to do the housework in the trails illegal immigrants who have multiplied over the years, the City of Montréal plans to improve the display on the site.

This year, the Friends of the mountain were not able to organize their traditional corvée du mont Royal, pandemic is forcing. For the moment, the mountain is doing pretty well in this chapter though here and there, cans of empty beer testify to the passage of nocturnal visitors, found The Duty last week.

But the evil which mount Royal had suffered for years, these are the walkers and cyclists who venture off-trail and trample the undergrowth, which is prohibited under the regulation on the large parks. The pandemic has not improved the situation and the police surveillance does not come to grips with this problem. “As all the sites where you can practice mountain biking are closed, people come to mount Royal to do,” says Martine Dubuc, chief to the post of district 20 of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). “The agreement that we had with the City, is that there is zero tolerance because they are destroying the flora and it causes soil erosion. “

Montréal veut faire le ménage dans les sentiers clandestins du mont Royal

Photo: Adil Boukind The Duty

This is not a new problem, but it has intensified since the beginning of the pandemic, ” she said.

A display almost absent

On the ground, traces of the passages of cyclists and walkers are visible in the undergrowth. And in many cases, the trails illegal to borrow on the steep slopes, baring the roots of trees, and flushing out any form of vegetation. “It is often said that ten people can take the same passage, but that it is the 11th person that creates the trail. It can go very quickly, ” explains Benoît Labbé, director of public affairs at Friends of the mountain. “With time, we lost the account of all these paths. “

In the park Tiohtià:ke Otsira’kéhne, on the summit of Outremont, the illegal paths are as numerous and visible.

The Friends of the mountain are not able to say if the number of users has increased in the parc du Mont-Royal, home to more than five million visitors each year in normal times. But according to Mr. Labbé, the mountain attracts new users since the beginning of the pandemic. “Our hypothesis is that these people do not know can not be as well the rules that the people who are diligently “, he explains.

The commander-Dubuc believes, however, that the signage almost non-existent, maintains, confusion among the users. “There is no sign that indicates that mountain biking is prohibited. And as there are small trails that have been created with the time, the police do not always know where people have the right or not to spend, ” she said. There are statements that are given, but often people say they are not aware. It is difficult to do the things that they know or do not know. “

Montréal veut faire le ménage dans les sentiers clandestins du mont Royal

Photo: Adil Boukind The Duty

At the beginning of the pandemic, the stairs, including that of Peel, have been closed by the City, as the distancing was not possible as the stairs were used as a training venue for athletes. This decision had the effect of encouraging walkers to borrow the parallel tracks. “But we live it has always been : when we put barricades, the people around them,” notes Benoît Labbé.

The cleaning of trails

Aware of the multiplication of the trails are illegal, the City of Montréal has undertaken to do the census, ultimately, better regulate the flow of traffic on the mountain. “It is a task that has been initiated before the crisis of the COVID because there are a lot of trails on the mountain,” says the head of the great parks to the executive committee, Robert Beaudry. “It is a comprehensive audit of the mountain made trails are legal and recognised and trails in alternative or illegal and which are harmful because it degrades the biodiversity. It is a work that is challenging enough, but after, it will give us a better picture as to optimize the display. “

He noted, however, that the park being located in a historic and natural district, the display request, a particular care, given the heritage character of the site.

He acknowledges that the mountain is undergoing a lot of pressure since the beginning of the pandemic, it is believed that the re-opening of sites for the practice of mountain bike, the resumption of sports activities in the City facilities and the development of pedestrian streets and shared to the four corners of the city will provide additional options to Montreal in the next few months : “And it was active, interesting and often unknown such as the parc Jean-Drapeau and large parks such as the Cap-Saint-Jacques or the park of the Visitation “.

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