4WDABC Key Programs
As a general rule, "Public Access to Public Land" means we don't like gates. We'd much rather there be no unnatural restrictions to backroad access.
But we also recognize that sometimes, gates are necessary to keep people or vehicles out of an area. And sometimes, they're required only to limit or monitor traffic without actually removing access entirely. In those latter cases, key programs are invaluable to allowing managed access for specific groups or individuals.
Eagle Mountain is a perfect example: an intermediate wheeling trail in the middle of a suburban area, open since the 50s, then closed to motorized access in 2002. In 2009, the 4WDABC and other interested groups negotiated a key program whereby drivers could pay a deposit to the City of Coquitlam and receive a key to the lock on the gate. In 2017 the gate was closed again, then in 2018 it was reopened using a Bluetooth lock that allowed the city tighter control over who had access.
In 2020, the city handed management of that program over to the 4WDABC. To date, some 270 members have requested and received access to that lock, and the funds collected are going to projects to improve and maintain the area for all users, including 4WDABC members monitoring and operating the dam that controls water to fish hatcheries below, and plans to rebuild a destroyed footbridge for hikers.
Norrish Creek is another example: as a watershed for Abbotsford and Mission, there was a gate present for many years but due to technical challenges, it was never closed. Finally in 2019, the gate was made functional and access was closed off... unless you had a code to open it. One such code was provided to the 4WDABC for use by our members, nearly 1500 of which now enjoy that privilege, while the city benefits from the additional eyes on activity in the area and hands cleaning up what little garbage is found.
In both cases, the gates were not to stop all access, but merely to keep it at manageable levels, and monitor the traffic going through. And while we don't WANT to see gates in other locations, blocking more access, the foundation of the Bluetooth lock system gives us the opportunity to restore controlled access to other areas that have been cut off from 4x4 users. With over 4000 members province-wide and 18 rec sites that we manage and maintain around BC (with more on the way!), the 4WDABC and our members have an excellent reputation with governments and stakeholders, on which to make that restored access possible.
To read more about the Eagle key program, please see 4wdabc.ca/eagle
To read more about the Norrish code program, please see 4wdabc.ca/norrish