People who like to play in the mud will soon find Crooked Road in Enniskillen Township off limits.
The municipality, at the request of the two landowners along the dirt path, have agreed to put up gates to stop people from creating giant ruts, cutting fences and ruining crops.
But not everyone is happy about it.
At a recent public meeting on the idea, Matt Strangway, an Oil Springs resident and a member of Oil Springs council, says the trail is popular with ATVers. “I take it myself with my boy to see the wildlife there,” he says adding people who really want to run their ATVs and 4×4 pickups in the mud will simply find a way around the locked gates which are proposed. “Personally, I don’t see the reason to close it.
“People will find other ways in… you think you’re going to stop people from doing this… you’re not.”
But Charles Fairbank, one of the landowners on Crooked Road spoke passionately about the damage being done to a piece of Canadian history. He says the gumbed still seen to the east is likely “where the whole bloody oil industry began.”
Fairbank, who is trying to have the United Nations declare his land a World Heritage Site says the intrusions “will not be tolerated.
“If we have to put up cameras in there, we’ll do so and they will be charged with tresspassing.
“I have nothing against mudding but I’m against mudding on our property particularly in an area that is so historic and has the potential to help all of us… This is the birthplace of everything that happened in this area, that’s a legacy – you don’t mess around with a legacy.”
Enniskillen Township councillors agreed saying the municipality will never turn the path into a full service road and the residents should not have to put up with damage on their land.
Enniskillen Clerk Admistrator Duncan McTavish noted that while some ATV users will be disappointed by the move, Enniskillen has not given ATV users approval to use their machines on municipal roads – as Oil Springs has – so they should not be on Crooked Road anyway.
Council instructed staff to map out exactly where the gates should be placed and a bylaw should be passed at the next council meeting.