Quad bikers destroy forests. This summer, foresters will not give up on them

Quad bikers destroy forests.  This summer, foresters will not give up on them

Opening forests to tourists also has its dark side. Owners of quads and off-road motorcycles began to run them over. Foresters throughout Poland intend to exterminate their exploits, although it is not easy.

Forest guards from the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Katowice experienced this dark side last weekend. They had to deal with crazy rides and races by drivers of quad bikes and motocross bikes, also in nature reserves.

Entries into the forest by unauthorized persons using motor vehicles are the most frequently violated forest law referred to in Art. 161 of the Petty Offenses Code. Foresters emphasize that driving and parking a car does not cause as much damage to the forest and its inhabitants as quads and cross-country motorcycles do.

How dangerous an attempt to stop cross-country skiers can be, let’s take as an example the report from Sunday, May 24, in the nature reserve “Dolina Rzeki Jamna”, in Mikołów. The action was specially planned after the intervention of residents and tourists. Forest guards not only from the Katowice Forest District, but also from Kobierz, Siewierz and Chrzanów took part in it.

– The Jamna River Valley is a reserve in which there are many protected species that are rare in the Silesian Voivodeship, such as the daphne, the giant horsetail and the common clubmoss. A total of about fifty people were tearing through the valley, recalls Tomasz Kurek, commander of the forest guard in the Katowice Forest District.

Before one of them was arrested, those charging through the forest almost ran over forest guards who were signaling to stop many times.

– I jumped twice at the last moment, if it weren’t for my good reflexes, I would have definitely ended up with injuries. The detained cross-country rider was fined for illegally entering the forest and destroying infrastructure – we issued fines for a total of PLN 1,000. Interestingly, after this action, we did not detect any attempts to enter this place until the end of the day – adds Kurek.

Only since May 20, crossers were detained and punished in the Wisła Forest District – twice near Istebna, and also in the Koszęcin Forest District near Koszęcin. The races in the Bielsko Forest District were dangerous, where tourists were pushed off the trail leading from Hrobacza Łąka. An arrest also took place in the Rudy Raciborskie Forest District near the town of Nędza. In the following days, further quad riders were detained in the following forest districts: Olkusz, Koszęcin and Katowice.

– The example from Mikołów, where attempts were made to run over the guards, is no exception. It’s a constant practice. What’s worse, even the presence of police officers on patrol does not improve the situation. Those riding quad bikes hope that with helmets on they will be anonymous and will be able to escape, says Wojciech Jaroń, chief SL specialist, responsible for safety at the RDLP in Katowice.

As forest guards announce, they will organize actions like those in Mikołów more and more often, also on weekends.

– The point is that racing on quads and motorcycles not only destroys the forest infrastructure, but also poses a significant threat to the health and life of people hiking along mountain tourist trails as well as walkers, often with small children, who went on a trip along forest trails – adds Jaroń.

Commander Tomasz Kurek believes that if the cross-country skiers founded an association, as a social party, they would have a chance to talk about providing places to use field equipment in which it would be safe, without losses and conflicts. Meanwhile, there is usually no one to talk to.

– Whenever I stop a person on a quad or motorcycle in the forest, I ask hopefully whether he is a member of a cross-country association. Unfortunately, the answer is short and the same: I am not – sums up Commander Kurek.

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